November 13, 2008
TPRF Gives US$20,000 to Provide Eye Care for Thousands in Gaza
The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) has made a contribution of $20,000 to help St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital continue providing care in conflict-ridden Gaza. The only charitable provider of eye care in Gaza, St. John is open to all patients, regardless of race, religion or ability to pay.
St. John Eye Hospital is one of the few medical care institutions currently functional in the Gaza territory, where all infrastructure, including the healthcare system, is in nearly complete collapse.
It is now estimated that over 80% of the population of Gaza is dependent on humanitarian assistance. According to a March 2008 report(a) by a consortium of humanitarian agencies including Amnesty International, Oxfam and Save the Children UK, 70% of households in Gaza subsist on $1.20 a day, almost half the $2.30 that denotes "deep" poverty. Despite these conditions, the St. John clinic has managed not only to remain in operation, but to treat over 17,000 people in 2007, which is 3,600 more than in 2006.
Dr. Jom'a El Jazzar, head of the St. John Eye Hospital Clinic, said, "The donation from The Prem Rawat Foundation will have a very real and demonstrative impact on our ability to broaden and deepen our much-needed humanitarian services."
The St. John primary and secondary care clinic in Gaza runs five days a week, offering surgery four days a week. When eye disease requires treatment that the clinic cannot provide, St. John coordinates the successful transfer of patients to its hospital in Jerusalem--a difficult feat in the volatile region.
While 80% of blindness is preventable with early diagnosis and proper treatment, blindness is 10 times higher in Palestine than in most Western countries. Blindness has economic consequences for an entire society--decreasing educational opportunities, raising unemployment and consequently decreasing tax revenue, while adding the burden of providing additional humanitarian and medical care.
(a) "The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion," March 9, 2008, Amnesty International, CARE International UK, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, Christian Aid, Medecins du Monde UK, Oxfam, Save the Children UK, Trocaire.
About St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital
St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital, established in 1882 for charitable works in Jerusalem, has become the main center for expert eye care service in the region at the Main Hospital in East Jerusalem and satellite clinics in Gaza and the West Bank. St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital's fundraising appeal for 2008 will support the Gaza Clinic, which has been operating since 1992. http://www.stjohneyehospital.org/
About The Prem Rawat Foundation
The Prem Rawat Foundation was created in 2001 by Prem Rawat, known also as Maharaji, and has a dual mission of bringing his message of peace to people around the world and providing essential humanitarian aid to those in need. TPRF partners with other humanitarian organizations to bring food, water and rapid disaster relief where it is most needed. To learn more about TPRF's humanitarian initiatives, Prem Rawat and his message of peace, please visit http://tprf.org/pressrel/20081113-Gaza.htm.