Princess Basma Centre: the light shines in the darkness…
“Palestinian children with disabilities typically face a particularly dire situation, given the levels of cultural stigma directed at disability and the protracted conflict that surrounds them, which has devastated infrastructure, fractured the economy and overwhelmed service providers.” UNICEF Report, Every child counts: understanding the needs and perspectives of children with disabilities in the State of Palestine, 2016
This is the reality for many Palestinians raising children with disabilities. However, there is good news! The Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre is reaching families in towns and villages in the West Bank providing services that this UNICEF report describes as a model of good practice.
Under the Diocese of Jerusalem, the centre has been engaged in faith in action since 1964, sustaining and strengthening the Christian presence in the Land of the Holy One, serving and bringing hope to people of all faiths. Situated on the top of the Mount of Olives, it is a beacon of Christ’s light offering Palestinian families the medical care needed to enable their child to thrive and reach their potential. From here, children with a range of disabilities are assessed through the Outreach Programme and those with the most complex issues are referred for residential treatment and rehabilitation at its base in Jerusalem.
Mothers attest to the transforming power for them and for their children.
One mother, on her 7th admission explains, “When I first learnt about the disability of my child I didn’t leave home or speak to others for nearly a year, I was living in complete denial that my child has a disability.” After support and training through the centre’s Mother and Family Empowerment Programme, she describes how she now has hope and acts as an advocate for her son back home in her community: “I feel more confident about myself and about the future of my son. The Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre lights a candle in the dark for us as mothers and for our children.”
Our thanks to MCabe and to all our international friends around the world who enable this work to continue his work through generous donations. The final words rest with Rawya mother of Farah-whose name in Arabic means joy.
“The last thought in my mind is that my daughter has a disability. I’m a mother, empowering my child for a better future.”