“We have changed many women’s lives through our work” – Interviews with PFPPA’s dedicated staff members

Iman Jado, Programme Director

My name is Iman and I have worked as a programme director with PFPPA for four years and am based in Bethlehem. Because of the restrictions that we face due to the occupation it is hard for me to work, as I cannot visit our head office in Jerusalem because I do not have the relevant pass. I can travel around the West Bank and work with our clinics there though.

I have been involved with the SAAF project since it first started in 2014. The impact I have seen from this work, is that we have been able to strengthen and empower a national abortion coalition committee, made up of community organisations and now have the capacity to affect the national opinion in general. We have also been able to access the Ministry of Health and Religious Affairs where we are discussing the issue of abortion and the need for changing the law, to allow safe abortion in cases of rape and incest.

Community awareness has increased and we have involved media so that there has been community education about abortion-related services and unsafe abortion. We are now trying to change the laws about abortion. At the beginning, people were sensitive to talk about this right but now people can talk more freely about this issue especially for certain circumstances.

“I believe in the work that I do, although it is stressful, you like to work on things that you believe in. I believe every woman has the right to decide about her body, her situation, her reproductive and sexual health in general.

We have changed many women’s lives through our work. One of the best moments of my work is when you see a woman who has been helped and safely ended her suffering and has gone back home healthy.

I am interested in this issue, as I know what the woman suffers when she is psychologically and physically unable to continue a pregnancy but she is forced to.

“I believe that we will be successful in our work and that women in the future will be able to access their rights as we now have a coalition talking about this and also have managed to get religious leaders on board who are willing to support abortion rights in certain circumstances.”

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Muhammad Abuarich, Project Coordinator

My name is Muhammad, I’m the project coordinator for a project focused on safe abortion in PFPPA. I have worked with the organisation for 10 years.

We face many challenges in our work, both in terms of the inaccessibility of some of the areas we work in as well as the stigma around the issue of abortion. We talk with women in the communities about the risks of unsafe abortion and provide harm reduction care to women in need of abortions to prevent further risks. There are many women who also come to us for help with post-abortion care as they have already tried to cause a miscarriage themselves.

We also work with the Coalition on Women’s Protection against Unsafe Abortion, a group of different partner organisations and we put pressure on the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, to lobby for change to the laws to allow for abortion in case of rape.

“Since working here I have changed my attitudes on a number of issues and accept things that I wouldn’t have done before. The issue of abortion is a very sensitive issue in this society, in the past I saw it very much as a religious or moral issue, that it should be forbidden but I am now convinced that there is also a human field, our life is not only religion. This change came from working with people and seeing how they were affected by the problems that they faced.”

I am convinced that what I am doing is very positive for our community, I am very religious but I know what is right and what is wrong. I know that not all religious criteria can always be applied in reality. So I do not care about other’s opinions since I am doing the right thing.

I feel best when I am at work, there have been many job opportunities in other places with better salaries but I refused them… I feel this place is more for me and I know that as long as I am able and can change lives here I will stay. I believe in a unified society and I think we can do that with our work.

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