Since 1925 the Spafford Children's Center (SCC) in East Jerusalem has served the Palestinian population. Currently, SCC provides treatment for trauma reactions in children who have experienced violence in their communities as well as family stress. For decades children struggling in overcrowded schools have received SCC's individualized tutoring in Arabic, English, and math. The SCC also provides speech and occupational therapy, plus art, dance, music, and recreational programs.
Palestinian children live with political unrest that can trigger stress reactions and learning disorders. More than 50% 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, according to local advocacy groups. With more than 50 students per class, children with special needs get lost. The SCC offers a safe haven of growth and healing.
With support from SCC children make positive changes that help them adjust to their environment and experiences of trauma. Through SCC remedial courses in Arabic, English, and math students make measurable progress and most can keep up with their community school class after two 11-week courses. Occupational and speech therapies, psychodrama, music, art, dance, and recreational activities are also part of the holistic approach at SCC.
Children in the SCC educational program make measurable progress. This project will help children stay current with their school classes. 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.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).