Charity Home > SOS News > Autumn 2006 Newsletter: Focus On Bethlehem

Change a child's life today, forever ...



With a population of over three million, the Palestinian Territories have been devastated by years of conflict - and children are often the hardest hit. Unemployment runs at 57%, and 75% of people live on less than £1.30 a day. 53% of the population are under 16. The social and economic problems which will confront future generations are potentially devastating. The situation has already affected many Palestinian children through increased rates of divorce, poverty, disease, and the overall lack of care.

SOS mother and her children

SOS Children began working in the West Bank in the Palestinian Territories in 1966 and just two years later children were welcomed to the first SOS Children’s Village and its SOS Nursery, which now has 70 little pupils. After much negotiation the second SOS Children’s Village in Rafah in the Gaza Strip was opened in 2001, together with an SOS School and Nursery. Since 2002, SOS Children has been supporting health projects in the Gaza Strip by running a small neighbourhood medical centre.

SOS Children's Village Bethlehem is situated near the historical Shepherd's Field and cares for 100 orphaned and abandoned children in ten family houses . SOS Aunts support the SOS Mothers on a day-to-day basis. The village is already full to capacity, so two additional houses will be added to the village within the next two years. With the number of children in need of our support increasing we have also extended the SOS School and are opening another youth house for boys. Children living with their SOS families enjoy activities such as dancing and karate lessons, leadership conferences, and sports and summer camps.

Sisters supported by SOS Children in the Palestinian Territories

The SOS Children’s Village also offers psychological support to local children. Two permanent psycho-social relief service centres, located in Hebron and Nablus now operate alongside the previously established mobile psycho-social centre. The mobile centre visited Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, and Tulkarem in 2005 and supported over 4,000 people. The permanent centres received over 2,800 people.

A new family with SOS Children

SOS Children's Family Strengthening Programme helps prevent child abandonment. We support over 200 families in Bethlehem by providing essential services for children and their guardians. Such support includes paying school fees and offering skills training to guardians. We also help families become self sufficient through income generating schemes.

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