When is a school far more than a place of education? When it is an oasis of peace and security for persecuted Christian children.
A Christian school in Bethlehem, supported by Barnabas, is a refuge, a place of safety and love, of hope and healing, for Christian children who face harassment and discrimination in their daily lives.
A safe refuge “in such a time as this”
“This is the place where I see my children are safe,” said a parent. “In such at time as this, when we see our Christian communities getting less and less in number, less and less fortunate in society, less and less opportunities of employment, I find [the school] a refuge.”
The West Bank is a place where it is very difficult for Christians to get employment. And discrimination means that, no matter how hard they work at their own small businesses, they do not get many customers and struggle to support their families. The school provides 65 jobs for Christians as teachers, administrators, cleaners etc.
Non-Christian schools in Bethlehem can be hostile places for Christian children, and other Christian schools are too expensive for most Christian families. Many children come from homes too poor to have hot water or heating in the winter. Some of the parents cannot even afford to buy their children pens and notebooks. But with the help of Barnabas Fund this school can offer minimal fees so that even children from the poorest Christian families can attend.
“Thank you for keeping us Christians safe in the Holy Land”
“All our friends and classmates are Christian, we pray in Aramaic, which is the language of Jesus, and we are very fortunate to learn this,” said Aram, explaining the difference between this school and other Christian schools in Bethlehem. He expressed his thanks to donors “for keeping us Christians safe in the Holy Land”.
Transforming love where “God is always present”
The children thrive in the love of their teachers. Little “George” in Grade 1 last year was greatly distressed by the recent death of his father and refused to do his school work. But his teacher’s loving care and daily prayers transformed the situation. By the end of the academic year he was a different child – eager to succeed and to go to church every Sunday.
Ten years ago when Clara began in the kindergarten, she cried for her mum, but within a fortnight she was crying at the end of the school day because she did not want to go home. Now she says, “We are always happy [at school] ... At our school we feel safe because there are no strangers. We are one big family and the older students help the younger ones. I pray that God will keep our school and that it will always be as nice as it is.”
Your gift will help Christian children thrive in Bethlehem
The school re-opened for the new academic year on 25 August with 660 students aged from 3 to 18. Pupils had been waiting impatiently for the new term to start. But ongoing support is needed so that poor Christian children can continue to attend.
A gift of £35 will help one child attend the school for one month.