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Report on Christian institutions in Gaza

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The Latin Patriarchate operates two mixed schools in the Gaza Strip, one at the location of the Holy Family Church in the Zeitoun neighborhood and another, newer school at the upscale Remal neighborhood. Between the two schools, over 1,000 boys and girls (a mere 5 percent of whom are Christian) receive a fine education. There are major renovation and construction projects going on at both schools. Fr. George Hernandes, parish priest and director of the schools, highlighted some of the needs of the school. Our discussion concluded a number of ways in which we can be of assistance in the church's programs, especially supporting youth activities and cultural activities, scout troop formation, and sports teams for the Christian youth.

Brotherhood Park, Shate’ Refugee Camp, Gaza City

Brotherhood Park serves one of the largest refugee camps in Gaza: Shate’ (Beach) refugee camp which was established on land donated by the municipality in 2000 to the Pontifical Mission with generous funding from the Doty Family Foundation. In my previous visits, I witnessed the effects of the war as well as the normal wear and tear on this park. A report and proposal was submitted shortly thereafter to the Doty Foundation, who in turn agreed to fund renovation and refurbishment of the park. This visit entailed the inspection of the work in progress: the installation of new playground equipment, restrooms, snack booth and park benches in addition to major restoration work to all of the picnic tables and flower beds, revamping the cafeteria and the basketball courts including fresh paint as well as fixing damaged doors and windows. The few children that were on site — given it was mid-day during the month of Ramadan — were clearly happy about the changes to the park. Additional work in progress was pointed out by the contractor who also took the opportunity to share with us his frustrations during the implementation of the project. Due to the fact that there are few parks in Gaza and so many people utilize Brotherhood Park, the municipality actually forbade the contractor to close the park during the project period, which meant that at times, he was working to lay concrete and tile among hundreds of children who continued to use the park's facilities.

Gaza Municipality

A hastily arranged meeting at the municipality took place upon the insistence of the mayor who learned we were in Gaza to inspect the works. He wanted to meet with us in person to present a small token of appreciation for doing the restoration work at Brotherhood Park. Additionally, the mayor offered a 10 dunum plot of municipal land for the purpose of converting it into another park that will serve all of the people of Gaza. He acknowledged that there is a grave shortage of parks in Gaza and 1.5 million of its residents living in the most densely populated place on earth have little or no access to any green space. He pleaded with us to try to find a donor to help alleviate the daily pressures experienced by people of all ages so that they too have access to a safe, clean recreational place.

Rosary Sisters School

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