Help 100 traumatized Palestinian children succeed

Summary

The Spafford Children's Center provides remedial courses in Arabic, English, and math for students who have experienced trauma, have learning disorders, suffer emotional distress, and struggle in overcrowded schools. Through classes of two or three students per teacher the children learn quickly and gain confidence. Services in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are based on professional SCC assessments and plans designed for each child. Workshops for mothers help them support the gains at home.

Challenge

Palestinian children live with political unrest and violence that can trigger post-traumatic stress reactions, depression, and learning disorders. More than half of Palestinian school-age children have experienced severe traumatic events; 93% say they do not feel safe in their environments. Schools are overcrowded; an additional 2,600 classrooms are needed in East Jerusalem. With more than 50 students per class, children with special needs get lost, and the dropout rate is 40% in some areas.

Solution

With support children can make a positive adjustment to trauma. Remedial courses in Arabic, English, and math are provided for children whose cognitive functioning and school performance has been affected by emotional stress disorders. Students make measurable progress and most can keep up with their community school class after two 11-week courses at SCC. Play therapy, counseling, psychodrama, music, art, folk dancing, and recreational activities are also part of the holistic approach.

Long-Term Impact

Children in the SCC educational program make measurable progress. This project will help 100 children stay current with their school class. They will be less likely to drop out of school and more likely to find employment as young adults. When mothers and children learn how to handle the trauma in their daily lives their communication improves and family discord is reduced. SCC contributes to the goal of peace by assuring that vulnerable Palestinian children have an opportunity to succeed.

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