Our foreign partners help us to keep the ELCJHL schools operating as a sign of hope for the community. Last fall, when the government schools did not operate for two months, the Lutheran schools were there, a steady presence in the midst of uncertainty. One of the ways this happens is through the scholarship programs, which help families pay the tuition costs. The costs are already heavily subsidized, but this past year the international boycott on aid to Palestinians worsened further an already dismal economic climate. The ELCJHL has found that families want to contribute to the tuition costs because it promotes a sense of partnership and self-worth.
According to Dr. Charlie Haddad, Director of Education of the ELCJHL, the average annual school cost per child is about $1600; because of the church’s support, tuition rates vary among the grade levels and schools from $430-$1000. Contributions come from individuals, church congregations, international philanthropic organizations, and international church partners.
FELM, the Finnish ministry that outgoing Deacon Pirkko Tuhkanen represented, has a sponsorship program that helps about 200 sponsored private students pay their tuition in the Ramallah, Beit Sahour and Bethlehem schools as well as the Boys’ Home in Beit Jala. The partnership is not just financial, but the partners write notes and cards to one another. The international partners often send birthday cards and small gifts, which gives the children a nice lift in their spirits. Through the notes written by the students, the people and congregations get a window into the reality of life in Palestine. It is a win-win program for all involved, and we thank those who are participating!