At the request of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Order’s mission is to support the implementation of numerous projects, large and small, in the Holy Land. This article presents the projects completed in 2022, thanks to the contributions of the Lieutenancies around the world. These works, once completed, contribute to improving living standards of our brothers and sisters in this part of the world.
Aretrospective on the past year allows us to note that while the Covid-19 pandemic was less pervasive than the previous year and allowed for the normal resumption of international travel, other factors have destabilized the world. Firstly, the war in Ukraine, which caused a large number of casualties and led to increases in the cost of many basic goods and services, increases that in the Holy Land were sometimes as high as 10% and in other cases reached 20%.
Inflation also increased and unemployment rates remained high in Jordan and Palestine, where they continued to exceed 20% (peaking at over 50% in Gaza), compared to 5% in Israel.
The demands on the humanitarian aid fund therefore remained very high. The distribution of medicines, healthcare for the neediest, school support and social assistance continued unabated and the number of beneficiaries remained high. In addition, job creation programs in Gaza, support funds for Iraqi refugees in Jordan and East Jerusalem continued to support many families during the year.
In particular, thanks to the Order’s funding, job creation in Gaza provided employment for some one hundred young people in the past three years. The good news is that some sixty-five people who have benefited from this program in the past now have permanent and secure jobs.
Support for Iraqi refugees also continued during the year, benefiting 17,000 refugees, including 12,000 Christians.
With regard to the East Jerusalem fund, there was an increase in demand due to the tightening of measures imposed on families applying for family reunification.
During the year, efforts were made to move towards more sustainable empowerment programs. Some creative programs were designed to help beneficiaries become independent, an example being the programs for women and young people, who improved their skills through the teaching of a trade that enabled them to generate an income to support themselves and their families.
In this sense, the AFAQ (Horizons) skills development and career guidance programs, implemented in cooperation with Bethlehem University, has been a great success.