Burkhard Schunkert’s monthly report from Beit Jala for April is here – here are some excerpts from the report which is attached in full below:
In Beit Jala (almost) everything very well
Only two employees had to adhere to a quarantine period because they had come together with people infected with corona. Thanks to the Lutheran Arab Church in Jerusalem, our team is on a vaccination list and we are waiting patiently until this vaccination is implemented. Individual employees have already been vaccinated and we are now looking with great excitement at the new infection rates in the Palestinian territories over the next few weeks. On the two Easter feasts and in the fasting month of Ramadan, people neither adhered to the mask requirement, nor did they avoid gatherings of many people in a confined space. In the worst case scenario, we will have a new wave of newly infected people. In the best case scenario, many people can be vaccinated or the virus weakens and no new variants spread and we are also returning to normality here in the Palestinian Territory, which has already become a reality in Israel. At Lifegate we do everything we can to protect our children, young people and the team as good as we can!
For example, in a GIZ program for corona prevention, we were given new taps and care materials. The faucets work with a sensor, so you don’t have to touch anything and the many dispensers that have been hung up in the house with disinfectants can now be refilled again and again. A great help in these times when we have to spend significantly more financial resources on hygiene.
Carpet flying (runway)
Lessons in this sport, which is widespread here in the Orient, have just started at Lifegate. With the help of our Swiss / Palestinian psychomotor team, the first children get their experience, feel the carpet and their body. Admittedly, the „take off” has not yet really succeeded, but the landing and ground contact, as you can see, are very pronounced. A lot of fun with the weekly program and also a good learning experiences for our team.
As is well known, the runway needs some space, which is why we are so happy that the only remaining neighboring property is being offered to us for sale. “Airports” are not only expensive in Berlin, even here you must pay a high price. Of course, we are still negotiating (after all, we are in the Orient), about a price reduction and a lot of tea and coffee has to be invested. Nevertheless, we are very happy that more than 100 square meters (out of 1300) have already been bought and donated and we keep praying and spreading the message. On a small „map” on our website you can follow the land purchase campaign very well and enjoy yourself! Thank you very much to everyone who has already helped.
Therapy and medicine
Leylasan is doing well on the way to learning to walk after her orthopedic surgery. Sometimes she grimaces and does not like to leave the comfortable wheelchair, but that should change soon. The wheelchair should only be used in emergencies (if things have to go very quickly), otherwise Leylasan should walk like many other children her age.
Janna and Jury, the other two twins in the special kindergarten who had been operated, are also making good progress in their mobility. Even after many years of positive experience, it is always like a small miracle for us when children who were crawling on the floor are first given a wheelchair at Lifegate so that they can come at seat height with other seated children and become mobile.
Then, after orthopedic surgery, they can stand and then even learn to walk. With the physical erection, the psyche of the child and the hope of the parents are also raised. We are very grateful that we were again able to make this possible for several children. Two children and a teenager were presented to the orthopedic surgeons at the Israeli Alyn and Shaarei Zedek hospital, insoles and orthotics were recommended, but no further operations for the time being.
This month of Ramadan, the good early intervention work in our kindergarten was underlined by a Muslim mother who wrote the following sentence on Facebook: „The best Christian I know, who is close to me, is my son Jad’s (Down syndrome) special school teacher at Lifegate.” You do not often get official recognition in the media from Muslim parents and we were very happy.
Special thanks go to the twin town of Beit Jala Bergisch Gladbach, as well as the town twinning associations Bergisch Gladbach – Beit Jala, as well as Ganei Tikva, who helped us with a fundraising campaign to acquire new necessary therapy equipment. The Bethe Foundation in Bergisch Gladbach doubled these donations and so we will soon be able to use therapy equipment and learning toys for working with disabled children.
Training and production
Thanks to the support of some friends in Switzerland, Canada and on site, we were able to acquire some new machines that were urgently needed for the olive wood workshop and for the carpentry. Since we now also produce most of the larger olive wood items in our workshop, these acquisitions were necessary. Employees in the protective workshop are already working on these machines and very beautiful motifs are created. All of the raw olive wood for the Christmas season 2021/22 was neatly set up by us and stored to dry at our supplier, who kindly helped us with the storage room free of charge. The wood is picked up here in autumn for processing.
Read the full report here.