We’ve been describing here and here the long and complicated process of how we’ve been helping the East Jerusalem branch of the National Insurance Institute (NII) become more culturally competent. We’ve also described here and here the efforts of Atta’a to work with different government and municipal bodies to improve access to rights. Last week, the joint efforts of our Cultural Competency desk and the Atta’a program led to groundbreaking meeting between Palestinian Arab residents of East Jerusalem and the National Insurance Institute.
The meeting took place on February 8, 2017, as part of the NII’s process of becoming more culturally competent. The goal was to hear about real experiences of the residents who need to receive services from that branch. Residents described language obstacles, complicated bureaucracy, long waits in several lines, and more. Importantly, resident-participants who were brought in were educated – including a lawyer, a doctor and other medical personnel, a social worker and mothers to children with special needs. This means that, unlike many Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, these residents are more familiar with Hebrew and more familiar with the rights they are supposed to be receiving, but still, obtaining those rights in East Jerusalem is very, very difficult. Through Atta’a, we – and they – are trying to change that.
NII representatives listened. When possible they tried to offer specific solutions. The main purpose of the meeting was that they would take these issues back to the entire branch and discuss ways in offering solutions adapted to the specific needs of East Jerusalem residents. Both residents and workers felt that such meetings should become regular encounters.
Can’t wait to see how this develops!
Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of both cultural competency processes in Jerusalem and of Atta’a.