Our project work in housing has been varied over the years and includes projects such house renovations to eradicate damp, the division of family homes into two units, refurbishments to suit mobility needs and water supply projects, such as installing water butts, to help counter the impact of water shortages. More recently we have focussed on water tanks and solar panels.

The lack of water is one of the major problems Palestinian society faces nowadays, significantly affecting the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Around the West Bank, many Christian families are living in unhealthy or unsuitable housing as they cannot afford the work needed. Many people are living without a clean water supply due to the frequent water shortages. 

The problem is particularly acute in the old town of Bethlehem, where the water tanks located above the roofs are often rusted and full of cracks. Most of the Christians live inside the old city and along Star Street, the way that according to the tradition was travelled by the Holy Family in search of accommodation, and is the most affected area for water shortages. Running water is available as little as 2 days a month.  When there is no running water, people have to reply on stored water or buy in supplies from a tanker. It can cost 10 times as much to buy in water instead of getting it through the tap, money that families do not have during the current economic climate.

We are working with local partners, Pro Terra Sancta, to improve the living conditions for people by replacing old, rusty and leaking tanks with new ones. We have also replaced old solar panels. Working solar panels mean that families can heat their water free of charge, which is a godsend when every Shekel counts.  Through the installation of new water tanks, solar panels, new boilers, and the replacement of the damaged and harmful ones, the families have free access to clean water, improving their living, hygiene and health conditions in addition to saving electricity.

Recently we have completed a project to help 48 families in Bethlehem to upgrade their water tanks and solar panels. Turning on the tap and having clean water is something that most of us take for granted. For the families we have helped by installing new water tanks, it is life-changing.

Maurice Jabrieh is an unemployed olive wood worker from Bethlehem. Maurice is 63 years old, married, lives with his family (a son and a daughter of school age) and has many health problems. Maurice is normally the only breadwinner for his family but he has not been able to make a living since the start of the war. There are no pilgrims or tourists to buy his carvings and he is not well enough to undertake other work, even if there were other work available. Maurice approached Pro Terra Sancta as his old water tanks were rusty and leaky. The picture show Maurice's wife proudly standing by their new tanks. 

A secondary benefit from our projects is creating employment for other Christians and enabling apprenticeship opportunities to help young Christians learn the trade.  

We know that helping Christians of the Holy Land to live in a healthier and more suitable environment will encourage them to remain in the land of their birth. 

House refurbishments

Projects have included helping people like Sonia, who experienced a house fire and needed help to pay for the fire damage. A house fire started accidentally after the electricity went off one evening when the meter had run out and everyone took that as a sign to go to bed, forgetting that an electric heater has been turned on. Thankfully no-one was hurt but the family had no money to p
ay for repairs needed. Sonia is a widow, a nurse and a mum of 4 and desperately needed her home to be functional again. After requesting help with renovations, the Hosh family were blessed by several charities who agreed to step in, including Friends of the Holy Land.

Or Tamara and her husband live with their two little girls in a one bedroom very old house. Tamara also delivered twin girls but she couldn't bring them home because her bedroom windows and door had no protection against reptiles entering the room, making it unsafe and unhealthy for her babies to live in. Friends of the Holy Land and Pro terra Sancta undertook remedial work on the property to secure the windows and doors and keep out reptiles. 

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