Friday, March 17, 2017

New Project in Palestine--Our Team is on the ground this week

In response to the invitation from St Joseph Center (Dominican Sisters Nursery) in Bethlehem to visit their ministry and help set up a coalition and community development training event for Muslims, Christians and Jews in Palestine,  WorldHope responded:  first by sending a $2,000 gift last year to benefit the Nursery and Bethlehem Bible School; and then this year by sending a service team to help lay the groundwork for a Shalom/Salaam community training event in 2018. Here's is our board member, Doug Smith's photos and initial report from Bethlehem:  


The nursery school at St. Joseph’s Center is filled with love. The children are happy and learning in a clean and healthy environment. The Center administrator, Sister Ellen, has six teachers who are devoted to the children. We enjoyed joining in the activities, first in each of the age-sorted classrooms and then in the new covered indoor-outdoor playground, which was partially funded by Epworth United Methodist Church through World Hope Corps. After the experience with the children, we met with Sister Ellen to discuss priorities for our visit. Her top priorities are developing the skills of the teachers and addressing financial concerns. We committed to doing three workshops for the teachers using principles of Asses-Base Community Development. Working with Sima Ghawaly, we established a plan for working with some of the “Mothers of Bethelehem” to address the issues − establishing sustainable income, women’s empowerment, and developing parenting skills.

First Training Event

St Joseph’s Center Beit Sahour March 13-18, 2017 There were nine participants in this workshop: six teachers and three Dominican Sisters. The session plan is listed here. The participants identified the following desired outcomes: 1. Develop new methods of teaching, including the use of technology. 2. Develop new way to work with children 3. Open our eves to new experiences 4. Work as a team and be interconnected (a new approach for this community) During the day, the WorldHope Corps team worked on identifying local resources that might be able to assist the Center and/or the Mothers in their community development work. We made contact with the Dalia Association, the Palestinian Working Women Society for Development, YWCA, Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, Aseela Women’s Cooperative in Bethlehem, and YMCA Shepherd’s Field. Several team members met with the Director of YMCA. The YMCA gave us copies of their 2014 report on local women’s resources.

Trip Report submitted by Dr. Doug Smith, WHC board member and team leader for Palestine Project
March 14, 2017