Yalla! Strengthening the education of children and youth in the Bethlehem Governorate

Through Yahia’s story we tell the “Yalla!” project that promotes inclusion through education and training

Despite the repercussions of the war in Gaza, we continue to promote the right to education of Palestinian youth in the West Bank and Jerusalem, especially the most vulnerable. Like Yahia, a young Palestinian with a hearing disability who is now an electrician at a local company. We were able to support Yahia's education thanks to the project "Yalla! - Strengthening the education of children and young people in the governorate of Bethlehem", financed by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) through the 8x1000 funds to the Catholic Church.

From student to professional electrician: Yahia's story

Yahia is 21 years old and has suffered from hearing disabilities since birth. Two years ago, he graduated from the Paul VI Effeta Institute in Bethlehem, a school that offers quality education and hearing rehabilitation for hearing-impaired children from kindergarten to tawjihi, the final exam for secondary education certification.

After graduation, under the advice of the school social worker, Yahia attended a two-year vocational training course "Technology and Solar System" at the Palestinian University of Ahliya. This course was supported by AVSI as part of the Yalla! - Strengthening Education for Children and Youth in Bethlehem Governorate, financed by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) through 8x1000 funds. The course for electricians provided Yahia with the necessary technical skills to enter the job market: today he works with passion in a local company that produces solar panels.

Grazie ai fondi dell'8x1000 alla chiesa cattolica Yahia è diventato un elettricista in Palestina
Yahia and her mother at their home during a visit by AVSI staff and Sister Carmela from the Paul VI Effeta Institute in Bethlehem

Stigma and job placement for young people with disabilities in Palestine

Yahia's story demonstrates the importance of quality education and rehabilitation for integration into the world of work for young people with disabilities, who are still strongly discriminated against and marginalised in Palestine. These children and young people often lack the assistance and tools to facilitate their learning in school, as well as adequate transport, adapted school facilities and staff to meet their needs. This is also why in Palestine 22.5 per cent of boys and 30 per cent of girls aged between 6 and 15 years with disabilities have never attended compulsory school.

The Yalla! project a step towards inclusion

The Yalla! project a step towards inclusion

In this context, AVSI promotes the social, educational and labour inclusion of young people with disabilities through a holistic approach, which involves not only these young people but also their families and the community.

The project “Yalla! Strengthening the Education of Children and Youth in Bethlehem Governorate” started in November 2021 and will end in October 2024. Thanks to the project, an educational model that takes into account the needs of students with disabilities is being promoted in the schools of the Custody of the Holy Land and the Effetà Institute. In order to do this, teachers have had the opportunity to increase their skills with dedicated training, speech therapy and emergency education training have been activated. Students have had the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular courses (cooking, mosaic and dance), vocational training and scholarships have been awarded to encourage university studies.

Training activities are accompanied by awareness-raising and psychosocial support for parents of children with disabilities, to support them in their educational role.

To date, the intervention has directly involved more than 800 beneficiaries. The achievement of these results has been made possible thanks to the collaboration with all the schools involved in the project, from the Paul VI Institute in Bethlehem to the Holy Land Schools in East Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho.

8x1000 chiesa cattolica