Helen Keller School update: A new school year and a new chapter begins

A little over a year ago, we reported on our plan to transfer the Helen Keller School to local Palestinian Christian ownership.

The Helen Keller School in Jerusalem teaches 67 primary-age children. All have varying degrees of visual impairment and some have additional physical and learning disabilities. From its beginnings in the early 20th century as a home for blind girls, the school has become a modern centre of excellence in special education.

Embrace has owned and managed the school from a distance for decades. It became increasingly clear that to align with our mission to support the historic Christian communities of the Middle East as they seek to become stronger in their social witness, it would be best if local Palestinian Christians assumed ownership and control of the school.

Last year, we announced that the school would be passing into the care of the Franciscans and today, 1 September 2016, that transfer has officially taken place.

The Franciscans have been actively working amongst the marginalised in the Holy Land since the thirteenth century and have a near identical mission to our own with an unrivalled reputation in the field of education and caring for the vulnerable and disadvantaged.

The Franciscans are excited about continuing the school’s unique ministry of helping children with visual impairment and other disabilities. Our long relationship with Helen Keller will continue in the form of strategic grants and the school will join our family of independent partner organisations working towards the common goal of tackling disability, poverty and injustice.

Please pray

For the children starting or returning to school after the holiday that they will have a great term, learn lots, make friends and be happy.

For the school staff team: for strength, patience and enthusiasm as they start a new year.

For Mrs Suad Younan, the school principal and for the Franciscans, especially Fr Francesco Patton for wisdom in leadership and that the transition may be smooth.