As schoolchildren return to some normality in the UK, many families in the Holy Land are being forced to pull their children out of Christian schools. With movement restrictions caused by Covid causing widespread unemployment, hundreds of vulnerable children may have to leave their school as parents are plunged into debt and struggle to meet school fees.
Suhail Diabes, principal at the Latin Patriarchate School in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, said: “It’s an unprecedented crisis. In Bethlehem the majority of our Christian families earn their money in the tourism sector, which is blocked now. In 24 years of working in schools, I have never faced such a situation. If the schools collapse, hundreds of Christian families will not find any income.”
Abeer Hanna, Executive Director of 13 schools run by the Roman Catholic Church in the West Bank spoke of families having to decide which children to remove and added that 300 pupils had been forced to leave due to economic circumstances so far.
Friends of the Holy Land is an ecumenical charity. Eighty-four miles was chosen as the ‘Pentecost Challenge’ because it is the distance from Bethlehem to Nazareth.
To find out more about the Pentecost Challenge please click this link.
The Diocese of East Anglia has an ongoing link to the Holy Land through the Latin Patriarchate, which is co-ordinated by Fr Peter Leeming in Thetford. Various deaneries and parishes have established special links with parishes and schools in the Holy Land or taken on specific projects.
If you would like details about supporting a project or twinning your parish or school, please contact Fr Peter Leeming on firstname.lastname@example.org