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Palestine PPRD (en).v.2

Palestine PPRD (en).v.2

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Published by Eugenio Orsi

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Published by: Eugenio Orsi on Sep 09, 2011
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- Amjad Kanaan, a captain in the Palestinian Fire Brigade, makes no effort to hide the broad smile on his face.Satised with the kind of training he has been engaged in, he speaks of the trainees with whom he has spent two months:“These school students are our future. I look at them and I see a new generation emerging.
A back-up force once disaster strikes
 The training programme for the recruitment of young Civil Defence volunteers in the oPt, nanced under the EU's PPRDSouth programme (www.euromedcp.eu), has targeted 10,000 Palestinian students between 13 and 17years old in the West Bank. This age criteria was chosen because these children show more interest incivil defence activities than other segments of society and, according to official statistics, they representthe highest percentage of the Palestinian population. The programme ended up training exactly 11,778students, well above the expectations of organisers and trainers. Those students, boys and girls alike, came from 577 schools in theoccupied Palestinian Territory. All students who attended the train-ing programme had their personal details saved in the Civil Defenceheadquarters database: the training courses are designed to trans-form them into a back up force to the Civil Protection. The coursedeals with civil defence, rst aid and rescue, re extinguishing, road
 They have learned to deal withre extinguishing and rst aid, earthquakeevacuations and drowning accidents: Over 11,000 Palestinianstudents from 577 schools have attended an EU-supported Civil Protection Training programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In cases of emergency,the children will now serve as rst reaction units – ahead of the arrival of CivilDefence personnel – or backup assistants. But besides acquiring functionalskills, the trainees have practised a new ability: self-condence.
Text and pictures by:
Elias Zananiri
ENPI Info Centre –
Feature no. 58
 This is a series of features onprojects funded by the EU’s
Regional Programme, prepared by journalists and photographers on
the ground or the ENPI Info
Centre. ENPI Info Centre/EU 2011©
This publication doesnot represent theofficial view of the ECor the EU institutions.The EC accepts noresponsibility orliability whatsoeverwith regard to itscontent.
Civil Society and Local Authorities > Occupied Palestinian Territory
 “I have learned to tame fire” 
Fire extinguishing course
“I have learned to tame fre”
ENPI Info Centre -
Feature no. 58
accidents, water rescue, oods anddrowning accidents, earthquakes andevacuation. In cases of emergency, thestudents will immediately be alerted toserve either as rst reaction units –ahead of the arrival of official civil de-fence personnel – or as backup assis-tants.Mohammad Abiyat is a 15-year-old stu-dent at the Bethlehem Secondary BoysSchool. Very impressed by the traininghe has received along with a group of boys from his school, he says he feelswell equipped to handle certain crisissituations. Since the training, he hasgiven cardiopulmonary resuscitation to an old man who fainted in thestreet. And when the smell of cooking-gas spread in a building wherehe happened to be, he immediately asked people to open all windowsand to call for help. "I am proud of myself," said Mohammad, "I feel Ihave saved a few lives." A civil defence drill took place at Mohammad'sschool, without any early warning. The minute sirens went off, mem-bers of the emergency committee turned off the power and shut allwater and gas pipes. It was a fascinating scene to see the 584 studentsrushing out of their classrooms and queuing in the main yard in just25 seconds. No injuries. No stampede, and no delays.
“I feel I’m a different person now”
In Qalqilya in the northern part of the West Bank, Taghrid Hassan, 17, says she never ex-pected to have the courage to enroll in such a course. “At rst, I felt so scared. But seeingmy friends joining gave me courage and I decided to go ahead. Now, I feel I am fully capa-ble of providing help to people in need,” says Taghrid. She adds that the programme hadan extra impact on her. “I feel I’m a different person now, with a new personality, perhapsa tougher one. And I like it.” When asked what she means by tougher, the answer is: “I don’tfeel I’m the little shy and weak girl of the neighbourhood any more.”In addition to training youths, Public Protection units of the Palestinian Authority do theirbest to raise public awareness of the need to maintain minimal compliance with publicsafety rules. The concept of awareness raising is based on informing the public about whatto do when the time comes that a disaster strikes. Leila is 17, she comes from the village of Wadi Fukin on the western outskirts of Bethlehem. She says the rst training day was veryfrightening. "I listened to the trainer as he spoke of ghting re and I got scared. I have are phobia. I thought to quit. But then I said to myself it could be my best chance to dumpthis fear." Now Leila easily uses a re extinguisher. The day a re-ghting course took placeat her school, she took the extinguisher with her tiny hands and dashed towards the burn-ing tyre in seconds. It took her a few seconds more, and the re was off.
Not enough re extinguishers
 This is what the course is (also) about. It helps people to cross the threshold of fear and tostep into a different world of communal integration, mostly at a time of crisis when peoplefeel they are in need of each other. In this sense, the course brings Palestinian studentsand their families closer to the Civil Defence culture, which increases their capacity to face
“I’m adifferentperson now,I don’t feel I’mthe little shyand weak girlof theneighborhoodanymore”“I listened to thetrainer as he spokeof ghting re andI got scared. I havea re phobia.I thought to quit.But then I said tomyself it could bemy best chance todump this fear”.
“At rst, I felt soscared. But seeingmy friends joininggave me courageand I decided to goahead. Now, I feel Iam fully capable of providing help topeople in need”
A team of trainers from the CivilProtection Department
Palestinian girlsattending a trainingclass in Bethlehemdistrict

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