Providing short and long-term humanitarian assistance and development aid for the Palestinian people
Annual Goal: $49,000.00
Year to Date Gifts: $2,740.00
Describe the need affecting community
People of the holy land have witnessed much turmoil over the centuries. Palestinian Christians and Muslims continue to have their ancestral lands taken away and their freedom of movement restricted. Since the erection of the Separation Wall in the early 2000s, we have been confined to ghetto-like towns. Special permits often are not easy to obtain, and they have to travel outside our home communities to work, attend university, visit relatives, receive medical care, worship, etc. This has contributed to severe unemployment and underemployment. The result is a despairing people reaching for hope. In Bethlehem many people, especially Christians, rely on tourism for income. However, because of the tense political situation and the seasonal nature of tourism, the tourism industry has declined radically in the last months, further aggravating the employment situation among Bethlehem Palestinians and creating challenges in food security; also many don’t have adequate income to pay for medical treatment not covered by health insurance, electric bills, and school tuition fees. The socioeconomic situation in Gaza has also steadily declined over the last decade, according to UNRWA. Years of conflict and closure have left over 80% of the population dependent on international assistance. In Gaza, over 500,000 refugees live in eight refugee camps which have some of the highest population densities in the world. Unemployment in Gaza continues at unprecedented levels. The Syrian and Iraqi wars have created a huge crisis for refugees in Jordan, and local Jordanian organizations and churches have invited us to support their efforts to provide emergency humanitarian aid for the many refugees who have fled Syria and Iraq and are in desperate need of food, medical aid, and encouragement.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
We will continue to provide resources for these needs through our on-going outreach and ministries. This project will enable us to continue to provide emergency humanitarian aid through financial help for food shortages, medical emergencies, and subsidies for electrical bills and school tuition fees. It will also provide job creation through micro-business grants which will enable some families to become self-sufficient. In Gaza, we will continue to provide medical aid in times of crisis. We will also continue our quarterly visits to Jordan to offer practical resources and encouragement to Syrian and Iraqi refugees who are staying there.
Describe the primary goal of the project
The Shepherd Society seeks to provide resources for low-income Palestinians and refugees through our on-going outreach and ministries. We provide emergency humanitarian aid through financial help for food shortages, medical emergencies, and subsidies for electrical bills and school tuition fees. We provide job creation through micro-business grants which will enable families to become self-sufficient. In Gaza, we continue to provide medical aid in times of crisis. We undertake quarterly visits to Jordan to offer practical resources and encouragement to Syrian and Iraqi refugees there. Through offering tangible assistance and ministry we aim to offer hope in the midst of violence, despair and hopelessness, lessening the suffering of those we are able to help, and helping some to get back on their feet.
Describe the change you would like to see in the community as a result of this Advance project
Even as the political situation in the West Bank continues to deteriorate, we hope to bring a measure of hope and dignity to the families who come to us for assistance. We will continue to serve Christians and Muslims in Bethlehem and Gaza without discrimination, which helps to nurture good relations between Palestinians of different faith traditions. Specifically, we want to help relieve hunger and improve the health of Bethlehemites, and refugees in Jordan; and to create new micro-businesses which will contribute to the economy of our district and help families become self-sufficient. We also provide emergency assistance when it is needed in Gaza.