ANERA Has Respect Because It Delivers
Salah Al-Askari was finishing his medical studies in Baghdad in 1948 when the state of Israel was created, sending millions of Palestinians to seek refuge among Arab neighbors, including in his homeland of Iraq. Dr. Al-Askari remembers bringing food and comfort to families sheltered in local schools in Baghdad. “I especially remember the very young children, so many of them orphans.”
Years later, Dr. Al-Askari moved to the United States where he joined the medical faculty of New York University and enjoyed a distinguished career as head of Bellevue Hospital’s Urology Department for 32 years.
At NYU, where he taught until 2008, a colleague noted his continuing deep concern for the plight of refugees and the disabled and suggested he might be interested in joining ANERA. “That was more than 15 years ago,” Dr Al-Askari says. Continually impressed by ANERA’s work, Dr. Al-Askari wanted to contribute in a meaningful way that would outlast him. A bequest was the answer.
As a member of the medical committee, Dr Al-Askari says he is always amazed at what ANERA can get done despite bureaucratic and logistical challenges.
“I have always been impressed with ANERA’s ability to deliver multiple programs, help the disabled—especially children—and educate the young, foster women’s small business ventures and supply vital medicines to those who need it.”
Dr Al-Askari cites ANERA’s long-standing credibility with the US government and with Israeli authorities, which makes delivery of supplies into the West Bank and Gaza easier than most other organizations. “It is because ANERA is not political. It is definitely humanitarian and has respect from everyone for its ability to reach people in need.”
Dr Al-Askari also remembers ANERA’s response to urgent needs at a hospital in Lebanon. “Leaks from an upstairs bathroom were contaminating the operating room on the floor below and ANERA was able to rehab the hospital and improve its ability to help people who otherwise would not have access to good medical care.”
In order to ensure continuity in ANERA’s ability to carry out its mission, Dr Al-Askari set up two endowment funds for ANERA, one in honor of his mother and the second one in his and his wife’s name.
He also named ANERA as a beneficiary of his family trust as part of his legacy.
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