Shorouq Hajjar, 24

Learn about the blockade’s impact on:

Health care
"One of the things that we learned at the Red Crescent was that you need to be able to treat people from nothing. You have to use your mind. How can you benefit from anything you have. You have to be able to use the little equipment you have. Often during attacks or other situations you don’t have a lot of things that can be used."

In 2008 and 2009 I lost one of my relatives, my aunt.  We lost her because we didn’t know how to give her first aid after she was injured by an Israeli rocket.  This incident did something to my soul.  I couldn’t help her when she was passing away.  

During my first year at the university I went to the first aid emergency unit at the Red Crescent Society.  I told them that I would do volunteer work there to know more about how to help people in emergency situations.  At first they told me that it would be hard for me with the university because I would have to work shifts with them, know more about cases, know more about medical concepts, how to use the medical materials.  I spent more than 100 hours learning about all of these things in a theoretical way.  After that I worked with them for a year and a half as a volunteer taking shifts in the ambulances. 

"During the Great Return March Israeli soldiers injured over 300 Palestinian medical personnel."

Being in conflict, going to treat patients who have complicated cases, for example someone with a serious injury.  I wanted to go to learn how to deal with these patients.  My manager came to me saying, you are such a strange person, do you really want to see blood?  

I said yes, I want to see it. Because, when you are in a real situation you need to know what to do.  My life in Gaza imposed something on me.  I have to live in a very difficult and dangerous situations.  I need to be able to deal with all of these situations.  Especially if I am going to treat other people or work with them.  I have to gain this knowledge about how to treat them.  How to be a first responder for them.  The people who are working in the emergency unit are employees.  I am not an employee.  I don’t want to be an employee.  I wanted to learn.  I want to acquire skills to benefit other people who are going to be in my life.  Even if I don’t know them.  

My humanity means that I need to treat other people who are suffering from injury or other things but don’t have a chance to be treated.  That is what makes me cry in this situation.  He then made a decision that in every difficult situation I should go with the teams.  

One of the things that we learned at the Red Crescent was that you need to be able to treat people from nothing.  You have to use your mind.  How can you benefit from anything you have.  You have to be able to use the little equipment you have.  Often during attacks or other situations you don’t have a lot of things that can be used. 

One of the things that happened that I remember, something that I view as a key action that shapes my personality in life, I went with one of my colleagues – in the ambulance we always have one man and one woman working with each other – not all people accept someone from the other sex treating them.  I went with my colleague named Hussein. We went in the ambulance to a patient in the Daraj neighborhood in the middle area of Gaza.  When we arrived I took the emergency kit and Hussein came with me, but the patient’s husband didn’t allow Hussein to enter because his wife was in labor and having another man enter was unacceptable.  

So I said I am going to treat her, I don’t know a lot but I am going to do it.  I went.  I remember that she was on the balcony outside of their house.  She was screaming and in pain.  When I saw this I was so afraid but I knew that I was going to help correctly.  I started to remember what I had learned.  What made me nervous was that there were two women with her.  They started to say, “Who are you, you are going to deliver a baby, you are too young.”  

I told them, “I know how to deliver the baby, I know how to help her, but I need one thing from you, I need you to go out and leave me alone.”  I was stressed.  I didn’t need other people to stress me more.  I worked with her and she delivered the baby.  For the first time I held a baby who was coming for the first time in this world.  I share her first breath on this earth with her.  I remember that umbilical cord was around her neck and I needed to get that off her head and solve that problem.  I got it off.  When she started to scream after coming out, that was one of the happiest moments of my life.  After that we took them with the ambulance to the hospital.  In the ambulance she told me that I was planning to call her Anas but I will name her after you.  What is your name.  I was totally shocked, I said no.  She said I need my daughter to be courageous like you.  I told her my name.  After two months she came to the ambulance unit and was holding her baby.  She told my colleagues that we have a new Shorouq in this world and she will be more courageous than yours.  Until now we are in contact.  I cannot describe for you what it is like to help another person come into life.