In response to the invitation from St Joseph Center (Dominican Sisters Nursery) in Bethlehem to visit their ministry and help set up a coalition and community development training event for Muslims, Christians and Jews in Palestine,  WorldHope responded:  first by sending a $2,000 gift last year to benefit the Nursery and Bethlehem Bible School; and then this year by sending a service team to help lay the groundwork for a Shalom/Salaam community training event in 2018. Here’s is our board member, Doug Smith’s photos and initial report from Bethlehem:  



INITIAL SITE VISIT MARCH 14, 2017 

The nursery school at St. Joseph’s Center is filled
with love. The children are happy and learning in a
clean and healthy environment. The Center
administrator, Sister Ellen, has six teachers who are
devoted to the children. We enjoyed joining in the
activities, first in each of the age-sorted classrooms
and then in the new covered indoor-outdoor
playground, which was partially funded by Epworth
United Methodist Church through World Hope Corps.
After the experience with the children, we met with
Sister Ellen to discuss priorities for our visit. Her top
priorities are developing the skills of the teachers and
addressing financial concerns. We committed to
doing three workshops for the teachers using
principles of Asses-Base Community Development.
Working with Sima Ghawaly, we established a plan
for working with some of the “Mothers of Bethelehem”
to address the issues − establishing sustainable
income, women’s empowerment, and developing
parenting skills.

First Training Event

St Joseph’s Center
Beit Sahour
March 13-18, 2017
There were nine participants in this workshop: six teachers and three
Dominican Sisters. The session plan is listed here. The participants
identified the following desired outcomes:
1. Develop new methods of teaching, including the use of technology.
2. Develop new way to work with children
3. Open our eves to new experiences
4. Work as a team and be interconnected (a new approach for this
community)
During the day, the WorldHope Corps team worked on identifying local
resources that might be able to assist the Center and/or the Mothers in
their community development work. We made contact with the Dalia
Association, the Palestinian Working Women Society for Development,
YWCA, Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, Aseela Women’s Cooperative in
Bethlehem, and YMCA Shepherd’s Field. Several team members met with
the Director of YMCA. The YMCA gave us copies of their 2014 report on
local women’s resources.

Trip Report submitted by Dr. Doug Smith, WHC board member and team leader for Palestine Project

March 14, 2017