We have partnered with World Vision Canada to sponsor children and support community development in Jenin, Palestine. We are also in relationship with Palestinian Christian leaders who are indigenous to the area and are a vibrant remnant in the land we call holy, including Dr. Yohanna Katanacho, Academic Dean of Galilee Bible College / Bethlehem Bible College, and Dina Katanacho of the Arab Israeli Bible Society.
The Community of Jenin
The community of Jenin (jê’nén) is in the northern part of the West Bank region. The people of this region have experienced significant violence in the last 60 years due to the unresolved political situation. In Jenin, most families make their living off the land and almost two-thirds of cultivated land here is covered with olive trees. Rains come only between December and February.
World Vision has worked to help the people of the West Bank and Gaza since 1975. However, the recent construction of the Israeli Separation Barrier has made life more difficult for the people of the West Bank by reducing arable land, limiting water access and closing the large Israeli market to farmers and other workers. As a result, poverty and unemployment are growing at a pace that threatens to destroy the region’s already fragile economy.
Lack of food and limited income generation - A lack of suitable farmland and reliance on inefficient farming techniques means that many families in Jenin are unable to provide regular, nutritious meals for their children.
Farmers in some villages lost their livelihoods when their land was expropriated to build the security barrier. In other villages, farmers now have less than .06 hectares of cultivated land per capita, the minimum needed to support families, according to local government standards. The border closure also resulted in immediate job loss for labourers who worked in Israel, and has seriously disrupted all travel and commerce. As a result, the unemployment rate stands at 33%.
Unsafe water and poor health - In some villages, families have access to just 30 litres a day for household and agricultural use – well below the 100-litre international standard. Water is supplied to most villages in Jenin through ageing water systems with leaky, rusting pipes. Other villages have no water system at all, and must buy expensive water from tanker trucks.
Drinking dirty water makes children sick, and water scarcity causes families to reduce consumption, which adversely affects personal hygiene. Chronic illness is a major concern since existing health centres in Jenin are understaffed and undersupplied, and most villages have no clinic at all.
Lack of education - There are not enough school buildings to accommodate the number of children in the community. Existing buildings are small and in poor repair, and some villages do not have schools. While Palestinian families traditionally value education, the difficult political situation has weakened their resolve to encourage and help children in their studies. As children’s academic performance soon begins to decline, many children drop out of school altogether and never gain the skills they need to escape a life of poverty.
- 109 children participated in a six-month remedial education camp. Children from different villages built relationships while improving their self-esteem and academic performance.
- 85 children enrolled in kindergarten.
- 232 preschool children now have access to clean water, playground equipment, classroom furniture and educational materials.
Sponsor a Child in Jenin
For child sponsorship, please contact Julia Sandstrom - directoreccc(at)gmail.com.
Hope for the Holy Land Tour
Read about the February 2014 Hope for the Holy Land Tour which brought guests from Israel and Palestine as well as World Vision to ECCC churches.
Travel to Jenin
See the project and meet the children through our Israel/Palestine Study Tour.