The prevailing harsh political and economic situation in the West Bank particularly affects young people. The absence of welfare services makes life for families of children with learning disabilities even more difficult. In many cases children with low academic achievements drop out of education as they need extra assistance, which is not available. Instead the children end up on the streets.

The Christian run School of Joy in Beit Sahour aims to rehabilitate children of all faiths found in these situations, preparing them to play a full and productive role in their community. The school charges nominal fees only from students who are able to pay but as many students come from very poor backgrounds, they rely on donations to offset the many running costs.

Fr Mamdouh Abusada, Director of the School of JoySince 2009 we have supported the School of Joy, just a few miles from Bethlehem. FHL also supports the Director of the School, Fr Mamdouh AbuSada, by arranging speaking engagements for him in the UK and encouraging UK pilgrimage organisers to make time in their itineraries to visit the school. FHL advises Fr Mamdouh on the school’s accounts and on how to manage overheads as effectively as possible.

FHL funding has traditionally covered around 70% of the school’s running costs and has enabled the school to double the number of classes to six, increase the number of pupils to 67, introduce better facilities and invest in well qualified teaching staff. All the children receive at least one meal a day and enjoy fun activities while learning in a caring environment. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, the School of Joy cannot access other funding, which has mainly come from pilgrims visiting plus direct appeals to parishes in the UK by Fr Mamdouh. We also know that costs are higher at the this time due to the extra support needed for the pupils and their families, as well as the need for extra measures to keep everyone safe back in school.

Can you help the School of Joy?

Returning pilgrims often tell us how rewarding and uplifting they found their visit to the School of Joy and how it will always have a special place in their heart. If you are planning to visit the Holy Land, please get in touch so we can help plan such an experience for you.

Please help us in supporting the school to continue delivering such a valuable service to so many children marginalised in society.

Visit the School of Joy to learn more: School of Joy website 

Donate to the School of Joy