Al Shurooq – the school for the blind in Bethlehem
Two of our trustees, Stuart Lynch and Iain Paton, recently visited Al Shurooq, to encourage the staff and to see how our grants have been spent. Here is their report:
To give it its official name ‘The National Society for the Visually Handicapped’ has come on by leaps and bounds in recent years. It has an excellent School Board led by a recently retired professor from Bethlehem University, who takes a daily personal interest in the work of the School. Also on the Board is the retired Director of Education for Bethlehem and Ramallah.
Most of the 31 children are totally blind, but a few are partially sighted; 22 board from Monday to Friday. Because of the nature of the School’s work, there is a very high proportion of teachers to pupils – 23 teachers, who also supervise a further 24 students who attend regular day schools. Recently a Special Education Class was started for pupils who have multiple impairments; soon a new Rehabilitation Centre will be catering for the many blind children who suffer from concomitant problems such as movement, functional or speech problems.
A cooperation agreement was recently signed with the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music to assist in the development of music as a way to improve verbal and visual skills. The School has also been developing closer relations with the local community to assist children from Al Shurooq to integrate into the community.
Like every other institution in Palestine, finance is always the problem. Our quarterly grant helps, but the School always says that ours is the only money on which they can depend regularly. So a big ‘thank you’ to all our supporters who specifically give donations to the Trust for use at Al Shurooq.
If you would like to make a donation to the work of Al Shurooq School via the McCabe Educational Trust click here