A sigh of relief for the sick, the elderly and the children of Bethlehem, thanks to the generous support of the Fondation Françoise d’Assise to the work of the Franciscan Social Services Office (FSSO), the office of social services of the Custody of the Holy Land in Bethlehem.
The FSSO works in cooperation with the Association pro Terra Sancta to provide practical support and continuous assistance to families and people in need, especially for the needs and medical emergencies that cannot be solved due to the lack of an adequate welfare system.
During the last two months, the effort of the Fondation Françoise d’Assise has made it possible to ensure urgent medical treatment at local hospitals for people who could not afford it. The Foundation also supported economically some patients that needed regular treatments and could not afford them.
Ahmed manages to find work only occasionally, but he says “this has never been a problem; we always managed to provide for our two children and other needs”. Unfortunately, his daughter Samira, who is only 22 years old, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease. “It was a terrible moment for our family”, says her father, “both psychologically and economically. The first treatment to mitigate the effects of the disease, cost 1000 euro a month. We were often forced to use less effective treatments for Samira. With additional treatments and the new visits allowed by the financial aid we received from the FSSO and the Foundation for us it was a relief. We hope that the medical insurance will cover the cost in the future, at least until I find a stable job”.
Vera, Mouna and Haneen benefitted of the financial aid by the Franciscan Social Services Office to cover tuition and medical expenses. The three sisters were abandoned by their father several years ago. Since then they had to live with their mother who has severe psychological problems that have worsened over the years. To date, while the first two are able to attend university, Haneen had to leave school due to the onset of some mental health problems resulting from the unstable domestic situation. Vera has a sad look when she tells us that “without medications and treatments covered by the Social Service, both my sister that my mother would have big health problems, and for us it would be impossible to handle the situation. Haneen has found a part-time job as a social worker. She works with the elderly, but her salaty is not enough to cover all expenses. Now there are new problems with the rent that we hope to solve quickly with some extra help”.