On Mother’s Day, 21 March, the elderly women of the Palestine refugee camps of Aqbat Jabr and Ein el-Sultan received a surprise visit from Felipe Sanchez, Director of UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Operations in the West Bank, who came to remind them that they – among the most vulnerable of refugees – were not forgotten.
Mariam Al Hinn, 85, lives alone in in Aqbat Jabr. “This is the best day ever,” she said, delighted by the visit of the Director and Lubna Madieh, the Chief of the West Bank relief and social services programme, to her home that the Agency’s shelter-rehabilitation programme built.
Mr. Sanchez told Ms. Al Hinn that mothers are an important pillar of society. “I decided to visit with you on this special day,” he said, adding that he was pleased to know that UNRWA social workers were paying attention to her needs and those of women like her.
In Ein el-Sultan, Zeinab Saleh thanked Mr. Sanchez for his visit. Sitting on a rug in her yard, she said it had been a long time since anybody had knocked on her door. “While we offer multiple services to refugees, we need to make sure mothers are not forgotten,” Mr. Sanchez said, noting that Zeinab was lonely, with no relatives to attend to her needs.
At the end of his tour, Mr. Sanchez sent his congratulations to all Palestine refugee mothers, calling them “the pillars of society”, and wished them a very happy Mother’s Day. He also took the opportunity to thank West Bank staff and the relief and social services programme for their efforts to honour the humanitarian mission of the Agency.