In the poverty-stricken West Bank, Palestinian university students have raised more than $43,000 toward developing children’s cancer treatment facilities. Called Smile of Hope, this fundraising initiative is sponsored by Ruwwad, an EDC program that trained the youths in leadership skills. Ruwwad is part of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership, which empowers Palestinian youth to make positive changes in their communities.
The youths created Smile of Hope after they learned that local facilities were sorely inadequate. Young cancer patients were rooming with adults, accommodations for families were minimal, and none of the wards had toys and resources for their child patients.
“When the donation boxes were being distributed at the launch, it finally hit me that my dream had become a reality,” said Marwa Al-Doudeh, one of the campaign organizers. “I knew then that the effort we’d invested in helping these children hadn’t been wasted.”
Ruwwad trains Palestinian youth in skills that include self-awareness, team building, and project management, and supports youth in developing and implementing initiatives such as the Smile of Hope campaign. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Originally published on January 21, 2009