Friends of the Holy Land are bringing significant funding to the Gaza Strip to support and nurture Christian youth employment. Gaza’s Christian population numbers just 1,200 and without sustainable investment in the next generation it could disappear entirely. After years of armed conflict and a near total blockade, many among the Christian community find their situation unbearable. It is reported that around 40 Christians left Gaza earlier this year using Easter permits and did not return, the main reason being a lack of jobs.
Despite their small number, Christians in Gaza play a pivotal role. Many schools, healthcare facilities, social and community projects are run by Christians, and these institutions support the majority Muslim population. The collapse of Gaza’s infrastructure is a very real possibility if these Christian communities do not receive direct investment based on sustainable objectives. Many international NGOs and charities focus relief on the Muslim majority, often overlooking the small Christian groups.
Friends of the Holy Land have responded to this urgent need by pledging £46,000 to support the salaries of 16 young Christians over a 12 month period. Working in partnership with four Christian institutions in Gaza, (the Near East Council of Churches, the Alhi Arab Hospital, the YMCA and the Holy Family Latin parish) 16 university graduates will be given one year work placements. These placements will provide comprehensive on the job training enabling young Christians to gain valuable skills, earn an income and thus encourage them to remain in Gaza to ensure a viable Christian community for the future.
Peter Rand, Vice Chairman and Executive Trustee of FHL, who visits Gaza regularly* said,
“Friends of the Holy Land recognise that for this historic Christian community to survive there is a need for a sustainable financial commitment. For that reason we are investing our funds into Gaza to improve the employment prospects and economic future of this beleaguered Christian community. With no end to the political conflict and blockade, graduates are in desperate need of employment. FHL already sponsor 10 graduates through University, contribute to school fees for 16 students at the Rosary Sisters School and fund an employment project for 5 young people at the Holy Family Parish. By working with our partners and targeting funds to named young Christians we are confident that we can make a significant impact, supporting and reassuring the small Christian community in Gaza that they are not forgotten.”
This FHL project provides donors the opportunity to support a named young Christian and FHL are actively looking for groups or individuals to sponsor these young employees at £2,875 each over the year.
Archbishop Sulheil Dawani, the head of the Anglican Episcopal Church in Jerusalem said of the scheme;
“I congratulate Friends of the Holy Land for their initiative to provide employment for these young university graduates in Gaza. The positions at the Ahli Arab Hospital, the YMCA, the Near East Council of Churches and the Holy Family Parish provide real hope for young Christians to remain in Gaza and provide a dignified way to make a living. It will provide them with practical experience and the means to support their families. The scheme will also strengthen the institutions which are an essential ingredient in the community to ensure the small Christian population of 1200 in Gaza can remain. Hopefully this project will continue beyond the first 12 months and I encourage your support for this essential work of FHL”.
For more information about how to donate to this and other FHL projects visit www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk or telephone 01926 512980.
For further information please contact:
Marion Homer, FHL Communications Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 01926 512980
Friends of the Holy Land, Farmer Ward Road, Kenilworth, CV8 2DH
Registered Charity Number 1130054