Back to school at Ephpheta Bethlehem!
October 15th, 2020
Sister Lara's open letter to friends and supporters of Ephpheta Paul VI institute Bethlehem
Dear friends and supporters of Ephpheta Paul VI institute Bethlehem,
I hope this message reaches you in a moment of serenity for you and your loved ones despite the difficult times we are facing here in Bethlehem as well as in Italy.
The past months have been really hard. Besides the illness that has affected many of us. The psychological, physical, economic and social implications of the pandemic has been very high especially for the most vulnerable, such as our students with hearing impairment who attend the Ephpheta Paul VI institute Bethlehem in Bethlehem.
Unfortunately, after six months we still cannot say that the worst is over; the situation in Palestine is still critical. But the children of Ephpheta need us, to be together, to start communicating and socializing again.
Today, after six months of enforced closure due to the coronavirus spread, I am happy to give you a great announcement: the Ephpheta Institute has reopened its doors to all our 180 beloved students!
Believe me, reopening a school during a pandemic is a very difficult task. It has put a strain on our organizational and financial structure; from meetings with parents to informing them about the new rules, to the periodic sanitation of the environments, the daily distribution of masks and sanitizing gels for all staff and pupils, the reduction in the number of students per class. Nothing is as before, but the joy in the faces of our children for the reopening of the school.
Yes, because to lip-read and to see their emotions, we are using protective face shields and transparent masks, otherwise it would be impossible for the students to communicate with us and with each other.
The pandemic was and still is a real challenge, in all aspects, because it forced us to rethink our teaching model and every single procedure down to the smallest details. But it's worth it, because every single effort made to reopen the school turns into a conquest every time one of our children is capable of understanding a sentence, saying a word and communicating an emotion.
For them we have to keep moving forward. For them we will always be there, for 49 years now, to give every child the chance to have a future despite his/her deafness.
But to keep doing this we really need your help. The situation of our students' parents is really dramatic; many of them have lost their jobs and the needs of the children are no longer just of an educational or medical nature. Now everything is really needed.
The health and education of our students are essential priorities. With your help we can continue to guarantee them.
Thanks for all what you can do. May God bless you.
Sr. Lara Hijazin
Director of Ephpheta Paul VI School Bethlehem