From 2006 – 2012 people from Eritrea entered Israel through its border with Egypt. They escaped the military dictatorship in their country, and many had to face a long and difficult journey. Some were kidnapped, tortured and raped.
Today, about 45,000 Eritreans are seeking asylum in Israel. They get temporary protection from deportation, but have only few social and health rights and access to services. The cultural and language barriers make it even more difficult to provide them with proper medical care.
In view of that, there was a joint initiative for a medical interpreting training, so that the graduates will help to minimize the language and cultural gaps between Eritrean patients and their care providers. The training was funded by UNHCR and was held in Israel’s largest hospital (Sheba medical center).
The course was 60 hours long, and the participants who had not worked as interpreters before had to perform 10 hours of practical training.
The training was very challenging – from the professional perspective, but also from the social, legal and emotional perspectives.