Det är med glädje PGS har mottagit nyheten att doktor Eyad el-Sarraj belönats med 2010 års Olof Palmepris. PGS är nära bekant med Eyad. Vi är stolta över vårt samarbetete med Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) där Eyad är ordförande, och lyfter gärna fram det när tillfällen ges. En av PGS två projektansvariga för samarbetet med GCMHP och nära vän med Eyad, David Henly, har författat ett personligt gratulationsbrev riktat till Eyad å PGS vägnar.
We from the Swedish Palestine Solidarity Association (PGS) want to extend our heartfelt congratulations to you on being awarded the Olof Palme Prize for 2011. This is an extremely happy and important occasion.
For many it has taken a long time to appreciate that oppression, poverty, unemployment and frequent violent conflicts also create excellent breeding grounds for problems of Mental Health. People didn’t understand, as science tells us today, that good Mental Health is dependent on the interaction of environment with biology.
It took a person like you, with knowledge, vision and courage to interpret this situation and begin then the important struggle under the banner of Mental Health and Human Rights which resulted in the founding of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP). Several of us from PGS, already in 1988, had the opportunity to meet you and begin professional cooperation and long term friendships.
The founding of GCMHP was insightful in many ways. How were your few professionals going to serve, in any way, the needs of, for instance, 750 000 children, knowing, of course that you wouldn’t be showered with extensive funding?
You choose a non-institutional approach where the cornerstone of the model was preventive in nature and based on the training of non-professionals by the few professionals. Thus it was this network, parents and teachers around, for instance, children, who in turn then would carry out the treatment. It was only difficult problems that needed referral to professionals at GCMHP.
Where was the staff to carry out this work? For this you created a School, with cooperation from 7 universities around the world, for ‘Community Mental Health Workers’ which now supplies Gaza with an extensive cadre of trained persons.
What would be the priorities of the limited professional staff. For this you created a Research Department with the function of locating major problems in the society as well as being able to evaluate the different treatment approaches.
Eyad, you have succeeded in creating a Center of Excellence, built on the foundation of high standard clinical work, teaching and research, and this under the extreme conditions found in Gaza.
You live your life according to your own vision. You have fought against the abuse of human rights even to the extent that you yourself became a victim. You express the truth even if it is costly. You have made the impossible very possible in Gaza.
Again, our warmest congratulations to you on your latest International Award. We from the Swedish Palestine Solidarity Association are extremely proud of you. You are a great inspiration and we thank you for this.