Bethlehem: two volunteers’ experience at the Antonian Society crèche

Giacomo Pizzi14 June 2012

A month’s volunteer work in Palestine: a graduation present that two Italian students wanted to share with ATS pro Terra Sancta. They arrived in Bethlehem ready to repaint a nursery school managed by the Antonian Society.

Their work was carried out under the supervision of Ramy, a Palestinian whitewasher, and with the help of teachers Naheda, Manal and Magee. “After the study of a great amount of theory, now was the time to get active,” Andrea, new law graduate of the Catholic university of Milan, tells us. “I had already been to the Holy Land twice, but on pilgrimages. This time I chose to immerse myself in the human reality of Palestine.

It was a very challenging experience,” adds Gregorio, recent graduate from a master’s in professional journalism. “We had a lot of fun with the children and were able to help out in the small way we could. At the same time we learnt a great deal about the social dynamics of this beautiful, yet complicated land.

Today, the nine redone and repainted rooms of the Antonian crèche of Bethlehem accommodate 25 children between 4 months and 5 years of age, from Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Muslim families. “Welcoming volunteers is a real please,” affirms Naheda, who has been a teacher at the nursery for more than eight years. “We do hope that in the future more and more young people will decide to come here and lend us a hand. Palestine needs their support too.