Diocesan Project in the Holy Land 2013
Every year we have taken on a project as a Diocese, to support the work of the Latin Patriarchet in Jerusalem as part of our Building Bridges twinning with the Holy Land. Last year we gave over £7,000 to enable the parish in Kerak, Jordan to repair their cemetery. Fr Humam, the General Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has written to ask our support and help this year, for the renovation of the Old People’s Centre in Taybeh. He writes:
“Taybeh is a Palestinian village located 30 kilometers north-east of Jerusalem, inside the occupied territories of the West Bank, and 60 kilometers from Amman in Jordan. The village has an overall population of around 1300, all Christian, with Latin, Orthodox and Greek Catholic rites.
Located on one of the highest places of the country above the Jordan valley, at the boundary between Samaria and Judea, you can spot from distance its square houses, its 3 Church towers and the ruins of the Boniface de Montferrat's crusader castle. The site is mentioned in the Bible and recent research identifies Taybeh as biblical Ofrah (Efron or Ephraim).
There are 192 families in the parish and the church has many spiritual and social activities which enable every member of the society to participate and share the faith and experience. The young are represented in scouts groups for both boys and girls and Christian Youth of varying ages.
Taybeh Parish runs a secondary school as well as a Kindergarten it has a Parish Synod Committees and the Christian Ladies Associations. All these activities include more than 900 people.
The Latin parish in Taybeh is considered one of the most active parishes in voluntary work as well as in initiating several projects and programs that target the elderly, the youth as well as in creating and supporting small industries and crafts.
There are 3 churches in Taybeh (Latin, Greek Catholic and Orthodox). It has been estimated that 7000 of the original population of Taybeh now lives overseas. The largest Diaspora is in the United States of America. There is also a large group of Taybeh indigenous in Amman Jordan, and small communities in Canada, Australia, and the Arab Gulf States. This is similar to the history of emigration among Christians throughout the Holy Land and has negatively affected the Christian community of Taybeh which endeavors endlessly to maintain its diminishing number of parishioners at the all church levels.
The local church, being socially and spiritually responsible for the wellbeing of its community, has increased its pastoral responsibility to create programs for the community at different age levels including seniors to decrease the poverty level among families who are unemployed and ultimately providing a decent living condition.
As a result of the emigration of the younger generation and other factors, the demography is rapidly changing where the number of seniors is increasing and are left without support for the basic needs for various reasons including the low income generation by family members, insufficient income surplus by migrants who live and work in different cities and countries to transfer money to their senior parents, no retirement payments and pension allowance systems are existed for seniors in Palestine to ensure they are taken care of similar to systems in other countries.
A few years ago the St Ephraim Centre for the Elderly was opened in Taybeh composing of two floors comprising of 13 rooms with two beds along with auxiliary facilities such as dining area, living area, bathrooms as well as TV and leisure room in each floor. The centre is equipped with one kitchen with limited space and equipment and has a small kitchenette at the basement.
The pharmacy is part of a multi-function small room that caters for the storage of medicine, examinations, as well as additional stage for food since the kitchen is not well equipped and does not have high storage capacity. The Chapel is at the centre of the ground floor and overlooks the heights of Taybeh. The basement has direct access to the back garden a place that is frequently used by the senior citizens even though mobility to and from the ground floor to the basement s not suitable and safe for them to use.
Three nuns of the "Daughters of Our Lady of Sorrows" congregation came to take care of the home and its pensioners. Their experience in assisting seniors is an invaluable asset.
The objective is to support the social outreach work of the centre in cooperation with the local churches and outreach to all senior citizens in the town regardless of income, gender, or social status; and help bring a spirit of care for others. The project would offer healthier living conditions and day care services including nutrition, medical care, and other social and cultural support services that are presently only offered 8 hours per day, three days per week for the 30 residents of the centre. It would also offer an additional 13 permanent jobs created in the local community, 80% of which would be filled by women.
The existing activities of the centre include a daily hot meal, monitored by a nutritionist; the meals are cooked according to a nutrition plan developed by Volunteers as well as local cooks to cater for the individual needs and diets of the residents. A medical check-up is being performed once a month for each resident; this includes a general check-up, blood pressure screening, ear examinations, Nutrition sessions, Weight Monitoring, Diabetes, and mental health counselling.
While maintaining the existing services and activities above the Latin Patriarchate is proposing the following to undertake the necessary upgrading of the centre in three phases, over a one year timescale. This will provide the residents with more space and better resources. Specifically the plans include the provision of social services including recreational, health and social activities that renders the daily life at the centre more inclusive and supportive. An upgrade of the clinic area to provide personalised medical care and attention, along with a refurbishment of the main kitchen and laundry area. The project also includes the remodelling of part of the ground floor to allow easier access and better use of space as well as providing safety and ease of access equipment in all areas of the centre.
The total cost of the project is £166,600 and any help or assistance which our friends in the Diocese of East Anglia will be greatly appreciated. The work will be undertaken by local labour and materials will be sought from the locality to ensure that the project not only benefits the residents, but also the people and workers of Taybeh and the region.”
Gifts towards this project can be sent to the Finance Office at the White House. For more information, please contact Fr Paul Maddison: firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations Form (pdf)