The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund is a non-governmental organization based in Kent, Ohio. The organization was founded by U.S. citizens who sought to alleviate what they considered to be a “humanitarian crisis” affecting, specifically, Palestinian children in the Middle East. Since their establishment in 1991, the PCRF has expanded their outreach to aid children from other Middle Eastern nations as well, such as Iraq. The PCRF’s main function is providing surgery for both adults and children in the Middle East. To do this, the organization often must transport these individuals to more developed nations to perform their needed procedures. Typical services routinely provided by the PCRF are plastic and reconstructive surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric cardiology, pediatric orthopedic surgery and ophthalmology. In addition to transporting individuals to aid their medical needs, the PCRF has also attempted to develop the quality of medical care in the Middle East by directly sending medical equipment to areas such as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. An inspiring example of the PCRF’s work can be given through the story of Shaymah Alayoubi, a 9-year-old from the Gaza Strip who suffered severe burns to her face and body in 2002. Alayoubi was brought by the PCRF to a hospital in Canton, Ohio to undergo several free facial reconstruction surgeries following this tragic event. The PCRF provided 3,000 sick children with aid through their visiting missions programs in 2008. That same year, the organization performed surgery on over 1,000 children in need free of cost. All American and non-American citizens can become involved in the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund by donating to the organization or through the act of sponsoring individual children in need. The PCRF has won several awards for their humanitarian efforts. The most prestigious of these awards was President Clinton’s “Yes, I Can” Award. This award was given to the PCRF for their help in providing surgery and extensive care to a triple-amputee. In 2006, former President Jimmy Carter launched a video campaign in praise of the PCRF. That same year, the PCRF teamed up with the British Arts Council to co-produce a documentary entitled “Open Hearts.” The film aimed to shed light upon the dire need for healthcare in Palestine. Despite its humanitarian successes, some have criticized the PCRF for its ties with the “Holy Land Foundation,” as this organization has been suspected by the US government to have been affiliated with terrorist efforts. In addition to this, the PCRF was criticized in NBC’s film “Homeland Security” for being “a front for Islamic Jihad.” These accusations were firmly denied by the PCRF’s president, Steve Sosebee, who claimed that he has no political agenda in his operation of the PCRF. Criticism like this is unwarranted but unsurprising as some might interpret the organization’s aid towards children of Palestine as somehow in conflict with America’s history of Israeli support.

Contacts:

P.O. Box 1926 – Kent, OH 44240

(330) 678-2645

Fax: (330) 678-2661

pcrf1@pcrf.net

Sources:

http://www.pcrf.net/about

http://www.wikipedia.com/Palestine_Children’s_Relief_Fund