SOS Children in Palestinian Territories
With the on-going conflict in the Middle East, there has been no resolution to the problem of the large numbers of Palestinian Arab refugees living in the Gaza Strip, many in squalid and overcrowded camps. Aid is organised primarily by the various United Nations relief agencies, but mostly focuses on immediate needs rather than long-term solutions.
SOS Children built its first village in the historic biblical town of Bethlehem in 1968. The village initially had 10 houses and a nursery, with two youth houses shortly afterwards. In 1998, a primary school was opened for both the SOS and local children with a capacity for 170 pupils.
In 1999, following three years of negotiation with the Palestinian authorities, a site close to Rafah, in the southwest of the Gaza Strip, was given to SOS Children's Villages for a new village. This area has a particularly high population density, and also suffers from high levels of poverty.
The village in the Gaza Strip is based in Deir Sultan, 10 miles from Rafah-Gaza and comprises 12 family houses and a nursery with room for 160, mostly local, children. There is also a primary school, with capacity for 130 pupils and an SOS Social Centre, which includes a small emergency medical unit run in co-operation with the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
In 2003, SOS Children set up a special aid programme to provide support for children suffering from trauma, who experience violence on an almost daily frequency. Using a mobile therapy centre, a team of doctors and social workers are providing psychological support and therapy, spending at least two months in different locations.
SOS Children's Village Bethlehem
Dr. Hermann Gmeiner Street, Al Karkafeh
Bethlehem / Palestinian Territories
Tel +972/2 274 2267 or +972/2 276 5671
Fax +972/2 274 5179
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