Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah
The Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope is located near the bustling center of the West Bank city of Ramallah. With 60,000 people in its metropolitan area and over 280,000 in the surrounding governorate, Ramallah is one of the primary centers of Palestinian government, business, arts, and culture. The Palestinian National Authority offices are here along with many of the largest businesses, schools, and cultural centers of the Palestinian territories.
The lively atmosphere of this vibrant, growing city mirrors the atmosphere at the Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope. For the 2011-2012 school year the School of Hope has enrolled 458 students: 64% are boys, 36% are girls.
Christians are a minority in Ramallah, a fact reflected in the makeup of the student body: 22% of students this year are Christian and 78% are Muslim. The school is a model in the community of cooperation and tolerance among its diverse students. The School of Hope provides top-quality education to all students, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or ability to pay tuition fees.
The School of Hope features many exciting activities to engage students beyond the traditional subjects in line with its holistic educational approach. Highlights include the after-school English club, sports teams, scout troops, the Information and Computer Technology Unit, and the renowned al-Raja Dabke Dance Group which performs both locally and abroad.
The student council is also particularly active at the Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope. The first of its kind in any school in Ramallah, the council works to engage the school in community service projects, help shape the school’s policies and environment, coordinate educational events such as visits from local speakers, and plan school celebrations and gatherings.
Challenges Under Israeli Occupation
The school was hard hit during the Spring 2002 invasion of Israeli troops into Ramallah. Curfews were imposed during which all people had to remain at home, so no school classes could be held. During one of those curfews, a group of Israeli soldiers broke down doors to enter the empty school and did much vandalism during several hours. Neighbors could hear glass and wood breaking in the school and telephoned the pastor to keep him updated. No one could go out to inquire or protest. The curfew continued for a few more days, but as soon as it was lifted the pastor, headmaster, staff and church members hurried to the school with cameras to record the damage and begin the clean up operation. Students and families assisted with the repairs and cleaning so that classes could resume as soon as possible. In fact, within a week the students were back in school.
The Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope has continued to be a place of safety and security for the children. During the very difficult months of Spring 2002, when Israeli army incursions and patrols along with extended daily curfews were imposed, the children longed to be in school and expressed their joy at being in class and among teachers and friends when they could return.
2013-2014 Quick Facts:
Principal: Mr. Michael Abu Ghazaleh
Gender: 66% male / 34% female
Religion: 21% Christian / 79% Muslim
Known for: al-Raja (Hope) Dabke Dance Troupe, upper-level technology program
Read the Press about the al-Raja Dance Troupe.
Mr. Michael Abu Ghazaleh, principal