BibleLands is a charity working in partnership with Christian-led local projects in the lands of the Bible.
The Overseas Partners share the compassion of Jesus as they tend, treat and teach the young, the sick and the needy, and seek to bring the peaceful things of God to those in most need – regardless of their faith or nationality. BibleLands are the largest aid provider to the Middle East and work in areas of health, education and community development. BibleLands was set up in 1854 and has worked in many countries in the Middle East. Currently BibleLands works in Israel and occupied Palestinian territory, Egypt and in Lebanon with 40 partner organisations including a number of schools, hospitals and residential centres.
The ‘Sheepfold’ is a Christian home that provides individual day and residential care to children and young people with severe special needs. It was started in 1991 by two British ladies in their flat in Beit Jala, a small village next to Bethlehem in the West Bank. In 1994, the work then moved to Beit Sahour, another small Palestinian Christian Arab village just outside of Bethlehem. This village is often better known as the site where the angels appeared on that first Christmas – in fact, the Sheepfold was located directly next to the Roman Catholic Shepherds’ Field Church. It is also believed to be the site of Ruth and Boaz’s field. The Sheepfold has now moved again to a larger house.
The Sheepfold provides residential and day care to children aged 5 – 10 years on a one-to-one basis. About 12 children attend as day students, whilst up to 5 girls, whose families are unable to care for them, receive residential care. Each child receives an individual programme of care, including activities aimed at their ability level, as well as medical and dental check-ups. The Sheepfold works closely with the children’s families, showing them how to care for their child’s needs. Services are provided completely free of charge, as it is intended primarily to reach out to disadvantaged, low income families.
The priority is to reach out to those who have been refused by other institutions, usually because their disabilities are so profound. These are the children who are most in need of, and able to benefit from the one-to-one care that a small family unit like the Sheepfold can provide. A visitor described her experience by saying “the children themselves lit up the room”. BibleLands gave a grant to help build a new permanent gazebo so the children can play in the shade, install a wheelchair stair lift so the children can reach the first floor, and pay a teachers salary for a year.
Our Christmas day offering this year will be sent to support the Sheepfold centre in Bethlehem.
(All information is taken from published BibleLands material)