When we think about Bethlehem, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is the place where Jesus was born. We think about how many children were born and continue to be born there, in a land which is as holy as it is difficult and full of contradictions. However Bethlehem is not only a place for birth, but also a place where people grow, reach adulthood and, why not, also get old.
In Bethlehem, many families find themselves without an income, with serious problems and many difficulties, not only to look after the elderly ones, but to take care of their own children. This situation is illustrated in the following stories.
L. is a 72 year old widow, with chronic cardiac problems, in charge of her 36 year old mentally ill daughter. The Franciscan Social Service Office (FSSO) helps her by providing monthly subsidies for the purchase of her medicines as well as her daughter’s. The social assistance of the Franciscan Social Service Office also managed to obtain a medical insurance for her which will cover 90% of the expenses of her heart surgery.
L. is a 68 year old widow who lives alone. She has three married daughters, but they are unemployed. Due to the inexistent pension system in the Palestine context, L. is alone and without any source of income. The Franciscan Social Service Office (FSSO) covers her medicine expenses and also gives her a small monthly subsidy which allows her to buy food.
L. is a mother of three who was betrayed and abandoned by her husband. L. did not have any income and did not know how to look after her children, and in despair tried to commit suicide several times. After establishing contact with The Franciscan Social Service Office, with the assistance of a social worker, a small economic help was offered to her. Currently, L. works as a secretary and receives a small salary and has the opportunity to take her mind off her problems by taking a break from the household work. A small step to start living again.