In 2015, AJEEC established a first-of-its-kind project in Israel: A dedicated ambulance service operating in the unrecognized Bedouin villages under the professional management of MADA (Magen David Adom).
The project was an initial attempt to help the residents of the unrecognized villages in the Negev, which numbers about 100,000 people with no access to emergency medical care and basic public services. The initiative started with two ambulances operating out of departure points in Segev Shalom and Bir Hadaj. In the last year, a third ambulance was added, with a departure point in Lakiya, and the project started to receive government funding from the Ministry of Economy and Industry, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of the Interior.
The ambulances make emergency medical services accessible to about 40,000 residents of the Bedouin localities in the Negev, particularly to the unrecognized villages which are spread over an area of about 400 square kilometers. Most unrecognized villages have no official emergency access routes and it has been chronically difficult for MADA ambulances to reach them. Training Bedouin ambulance drivers, who are well acquainted with the settlements, even the most remote ones, has long-time been an initiative of AJEEC-NISPED. This initiative has completely changed the situation on the ground and thousands of people now have access to emergency services. The ambulances make rounds between the villages, ready for any call, and provide first response medical treatment in the field as well as a quick evacuation to local hospitals and clinics.
The departure points in each of the three settlements are located in the center of the community and each operates an extensive array of volunteer activities: promoting local social involvement, conducting first aid training, saving lives in emergencies, and general health promotion.