Project Rozana gives comfort to the family of slain Israeli

October 31, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Gary Samowitz is the project manager for Project Rozana which has awarded a medical fellowship to a Palestinian doctor in the name of Aiia Maasarwe who was brutally murdered in Melbourne earlier this year.

Saeed Masserwe, Dr Khadra Salami and Noor Masserwe

Saeed and Noor Masserwe visited from their home in Shanghai to witness the 30-year sentence being pronounced on their daughter and sister.

They also met the Palestinian specialist who has received the fellowship.

Gary Samowitz writes: “There have been times when words simply aren’t adequate to express how I feel.  One such occasion occurred last week when I had the deep privilege of meeting Saeed Maasarwe, father of murdered Palestinian Israeli, Aiia Maasarwe, in Melbourne ten months ago.

Chair of Project Rozana Australia and Chair of Project Rozana International Ron Finkel and Dr Khadra Salami

To say Saeed is an extraordinary human being is an understatement.  He is a man who will not allow hate to inform him or his family.  He is a husband and father who believes that to ignore Aiia’s positivity in life is to dishonour her memory.

Saeed came to Australia to attend the sentencing of Aiia’s murderer, not for revenge but for closure.  And he came with his daughter Noor to launch a very special fellowship in Aiia’s name; a fellowship that will bring Israelis and Palestinians closer through health.

The Aiia Maasarwe Memorial Medical Fellowship is the initiative of Project Rozana, an Australian charity that was established in 2013 to leverage Israel’s world-class health system to benefit Palestinians.  And importantly, by upskilling Palestinian doctors, nurses and therapists, it will reduce pressure on Israel’s health system.

Project Rozana is succeeding where most other well-meaning initiatives are failing.  It works from the bottom up, where people in both communities are willing to embrace a ‘fair go’, especially when it comes to the health and wellbeing of children.

The first fellow is Dr Khadra Salami, a senior paediatric haemato-oncology specialist at Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem.  Khadra will spend two years working with acclaimed specialists at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.  When she returns to full-time work at Augusta Victoria, she will be one of only six paediatric cancer specialists in the West Bank and Gaza and the ONLY woman.

It was my privilege to donate to the Aiia Maasarwe Memorial Medical Fellowship and I hope you will see fit to do the same.  I wouldn’t have made this call if I wasn’t deeply moved by meeting Saeed.  I will be happy to speak to you about this.  In the meantime please visit”

Noor Masseerde, Gary Samowitz and Saeed Masserwe

The Maasarwe originally lived in the northern coastal city of Hadera in Israel. 21-yr-old Aii interrupted her studies in Shanghai to become an exchange student in Melbourne for a year.

Dr Khadra Salami told a meeting in Sydney yesterday that the Project Rozana’s Aiaa Masserwe Fellowship would provide the funding needed to research her field in paediatrics. She studied in a university inEast Jerusalem where there was no facility for her to study paediatric oncology. The Aiaa Masserweby Fellowship will bring the knowledge and experience she seeks to the hospital she works in Ramallah.

Saeed said that he found some comfort in the knowledge that the fellowship will help others.

Aiia’s sister Noor said: “She loved life and could speak several languages. My wish is for a world without hatred.”


Aiaa Masserwe

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