Amal smiles as she realises she has surpassed her own expectations of ever being able to cope in school.
She came to the Spafford Children’s Center in East Jerusalem with poor concentration, weak motor skills and the inability to hold a pencil and draw shapes. Her confidence was shattered. She did not even have the will to finish simple tasks.
The Spafford Children’s Center has been caring for children like Amal and her family for almost 100 years, adapting its services over the time to respond to the changing needs of Palestinian society.
The main focus of the Spafford Children’s Center today is to provide therapy for children experiencing trauma as a result of the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Children come into the Center with challenges such as stuttering or behavioural problems and are treated with speech therapy, art therapy, play therapy and drama therapy, all within an atmosphere of loving care and support.
For Amal, it is already having a positive effect. After intensive courses in Arabic, and through the use of innovative teaching methods that enable her to memorise things more quickly and easily, her ability in the Arabic language has vastly improved. Play Therapy is also helping her to overcome her reading and writing problems. As a result, her grades in school have improved and her teachers have recognised the benefit of her time at the Center.
East Jerusalem has not escaped COVID-19, with the Occupied Palestinian Territories (including East Jerusalem) recording over 120,000 cases*. Restrictions caused the Center to close for some of the year, however it continued remotely where possible, providing remedial education, therapeutic services and psychosocial support services to children, youth, and parents (particularly mothers).
Now the Center is back operating in a COVID-safe way, providing the most vulnerable children (aged between 4-13 years) with the essential remedial education they need (Arabic, mathematics and English) as well as therapeutic courses such as speech and occupational therapy.
The Center has also resumed counselling sessions for parents to help them learn the best ways to support their children as society begins to open up again. For girls like Amal, the Spafford Children’s Center is providing hope and healing.
Our ‘Speech Therapy and Education for Children’ program at the Spafford Children’s Center in East Jerusalem is funded by donations from the Australian public.
To support this program select ’07. Jerusalem – Spafford Children’s Center’ from the drop-down menu on our donate page.