11 January 2018

Christians in Gaza, a minority that builds itself up

They suffer from unemployment, from poverty, from lack of infrastructure and from lack of electricity, yet Christians in Gaza are a social wealth for the population of the entire Strip.

Christians in the Holy Land

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BASHAR HELAL
Christian man from Gaza
"[It is like] living in a small prison, we are not allowed to go out. I have not even seen some of my siblings in15 years or 20 years!”

Fr. MARIO DA SILVA
Latin Pastor – Holy Family - Gaza City
"Our fellow Christians are leaving Gaza. There is no work, there is no money, there is nothing that makes life worth living. They leave at the first opportunity they have and they will never come back.”

Unemployment, poverty, lack of infrastructure and lack of electricity.
The inhabitants of the Gaza Strip have to deal with heavy difficulties and daily contradictions. Presently, the remaining Christians account for 0.005% of the population: a thousand in 2 million.

Sr. BRIDGET TIGHE
Executive Director - Caritas Jerusalem - Gaza
"The Christian community is very small and vulnerable. On the surface, things are going rather well, but in the heart, there is a lack of hope and a fear of what will happen in the future.”

“Yet - Sister Bridget continues - the variety and quantity of different projects carried out to serve the community demonstrate that people here are extremely resilient. An example is precisely Caritas, a detached branch of the Jerusalem office, present in Gaza since 2000.”

Sr. BRIDGET TIGHE
Executive Director - Caritas Jerusalem - Gaza
"Caritas in Gaza has projects mainly in the medical field. We have many mobile teams working throughout the Strip, taking care of sick children, pregnant women and the elderly, in numerous projects. We also offer psycho-social support and activities for children traumatized by the war and programs that teach women how to relate to family and traumatized children.”

The parish of the Holy Family also operates in the social sector, where Haya, a young graduate in civil engineering, works as Project manager.

HAYA TARAZI
Project Manager – Holy Family - Gaza City
"We make plans for the poor people of Gaza, like solar panels for homes: we want to feel normal!

HAYA TARAZI
Project Manager – Holy Family - Gaza City
"Through another project, we distribute meal vouchers and scholarships for students. We are planning to create many other programs!”

The school run by the Rosary Sisters, an order founded by a Palestinian woman, Marie Alphonsine, is one of the five Christian institutes in the city, one of the most attended schools, thanks to its good standards, to the variety of subjects and to the dialogue established there.

Sr. NABILA SALEH
Principal – Rosary Sisters School - Gaza
"We have a large school in Gaza, from kindergarten to first grade, with 988 children, mostly Muslims - there are only 72 Christians. Christian and Muslim students get along well. We are a small community, but we are the salt of the earth!”

The Christian community is like a big family: we visit the homes during the Christmas season, we pray at the refugee camp, we talk about childhood memories from old photographs in a daily life that does not surrender to injustice or evil, but that, instead, continues to hope.

ATTALLAH TARAZI
Christian man from Gaza
"I always say that love is the most powerful weapon. Jesus' love needs to be spread here.”

BASHAR HELAL
Christian man from Gaza
"I hope for a better and easier life for everyone next year.”