The Mosaic Art Training Course continues to flourish. A new initiative launched by the Association pro Terra Sancta in collaboration with the Mosaic Centre of Jericho, the course has as its mission the development of employment opportunities and the local economy in the city of Bethlehem.
The Training Course is a small piece of a much larger initiative, which in the course of the last year has seen the cooperation of the Association pro Terra Sancta, the Custody of the Holy Land, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, along with the valuable help of the Episcopal Conference of Italy’s committee which provides for the charitable intervention of different forms in the Third World, including the purchase of buildings of historical importance in the heart of Bethlehem, near the Church of the Nativity.
At the heart of this initiative is the two-sided goal of helping to support the presence of Christian families and institutions in the Holy Land, as well as to give new life to those Christian properties which have fallen into disuse, all for the sake of the entire community, through pastoral activities and formation.
While the organizers of the Center set about completing the task of renovating and decorating the Mosaic Center, a final shortlist of participants for the mosaic course was formed, consisting of six girls and one boy eager to get back into the game and learn the difficult artisanal art of mosaic production and restoration. The Mosaic Center in Jericho, a local NGO committed to safeguarding and enhancing the artistic and cultural patrimony of Palestine, has provided the equipment, and an experienced trainer who follows the students in their first steps, one whose know-how developed over sixteen years of experience.
But what value can such an initiative have, given that it only involves seven beneficiaries? A much greater value than one could imagine at first glance. In a place where access to quality education and vocational training is otherwise not guaranteed, this project provides a long-term opportunity for the same, one that could be a turning point for the students, their spouses, children, and families, who will benefit from an additional income and social progress that would otherwise have been denied.
This course is not a destination, but a platform or starting point for new developments, courses, and programs for apprenticeship and production that would involve and benefit the local community in an ever more consistent manner.
Fatima, one of the participants of the course, says that while she recognizes that “it is difficult to become good at this art. But it’s still early days, and I know we can learn a lot in the coming months.” And who knows what the future may hold? Possibly, together with her husband, she will start her own project and “help him to create typical artisanal pieces. Maybe we could even start a business!”
Haady, the course instructor, is also confident. He travels every day from Jericho to Bethlehem to teach the techniques and history of mosaic art to his students. “This course is a great opportunity, and it seems to me to be well organized. I am glad that I am able to help with my experience in this field. I hope the Mosaic Centre can grow here in Bethlehem, to give opportunities to more people and to increase the awareness of our artistic and cultural heritage.”