After finishing high school, Hanan Bannoura wanted to study agriculture, but received a scholarship in Jordan to study nursing and spent years studying nursing in the Jordanian University.

Upon graduation, she returned to her birthplace, Palestine, and worked in the Caritas Baby Hospital and Al-Makased Hospital before joining the Holy Family Hospital (HFH) in 1991.

The hospital was new, and Hanan was part of a small team cooperating to make sure Palestinian mothers were being taken care of in the best possible way. Hanan enjoyed the kind culture of HFH and she’s been there ever since.

Only one year after she was recruited, the hospital invested in Hanan’s education and supported her midwifery studies.

During the years, she had many fine offers to work abroad, but serving the people of her country is her passion. As she says, “A piece of bread in Palestine is worth more than millions to me!”

Hanan is a self-proclaimed activist in women’s rights and empowerment, so working in a maternity hospital is a perfect fit. She initiated “Palestinian Working Women for Development” and finds great joy in empowering women when she is not helping women give birth.

Hanan wrote, “Our work is full of emotions: sacred human emotions! As midwives, we see life while it’s being created in front of our eyes. Better still, we take part in this! We work with the woman while she is having labor pain, we hear her scream and cry of pain, but when we carry the baby and put him beside her heart, we hear her talk to him, and at once, her tears are happy ones. And this is our daily reward, which is far more important than all the rewards of the world.”

She said, “I can’t describe how happy I felt when a new young employee was recruited in the hospital to find out that I was the midwife during his birth. Look at him now, I thought, a young man building his future in the same place where he was born.”

Hanan is a talented and energetic teacher and takes great pride in the work she’s done instructing nurses and other students over the years. Those nurses have gone on to serve in Hebron, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem. She continues to raise the quality of nursing on a national level, including initiating the Palestinian National Midwifery committee in 2004.

Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem is a primary work of The Order of Malta. The Holy Family Hospital Foundation, established in 2000 by the three associations of the Order of Malta in the USA to support the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem, which located 800 yards from the birthplace of Jesus. Founded by the Daughters of Charity in 1885 and sustained by the Sovereign Order of Malta since 1985, it provides the only available medical care for high-risk pregnancies in the area and cares for over 3,200 deliveries each year.

We are extremely honored and moved at the opportunity to recognize Hanan and her fellow nurses at the Holy Family Hospital at our May 11 event at the United Nations, celebrating International Nurses Day.

We also thank the Sovereign Order of Malta and American Association Order of Malta in the USA for nominating Hanan so that we may all share her inspiring story and support her work for decades to come, and thank them for their support of Nurses With Global Impact as a key non-profit partner.

– Deb