Wi’am Centre for Peace & Reconciliation in Bethlehem
“Christmas Smile” Proposal 2014
“We will not allow the Grinch to steal Christmas”
The situation in the Middle East leaves us with hope that tomorrow is a better day. We are confronted with so many concerns and political decisions. We desire for more stability, respect for human rights and democracy. We would like to live in safe haven called home and we work and wish the Occupation will be over once and for all.
The joy of Christmas is a time of rejuvenation. Indeed, the message of Christmas is a message of hope, new life, deliverance, agape and reconciliation. It is a time of celebration of community and of Christ's peace. We celebrate God’s love to us though we remember how many Children in Bethlehem were killed because King Herod wanted to kill the new born King. So at Christmas, we remember the children of Palestine who are living in Palestine and deprived of their basic rights in which few of them not everyone will celebrate Christmas to promote God’s will and His purpose.
Life and the reality in the place of Jesus' birth, Bethlehem, are often fraught with violence, deprivation and economic deterioration. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, unemployment Rate in Palestine increased to “26.30 percent in the second quarter of 2014 from 26.20 percent in the first quarter of 2014”. Communities are facing daunting times with the oppression of the occupation, lack of job opportunities, denial of basic rights and economic downturn. So, Instead of Christmas being a time of communal celebrations, it can become a time of misery and hardships.
The most vulnerable in these communities are children, children who in their daily life have to face adult obstacles. Christmas, experienced by a child should be a time of celebration and of joy. Yet for many families in Palestine parents are faced with impossible obstacles in which the creation of a cheerful environment becomes difficult and providing a gift at Christmas, which could possibly restore a child's confidence in life and restore stolen smiles, might be unattainable. Providing the opportunity for children to engage and participate in cheerful Christmas activities provide hope and joy to children and it is a way to provide joy to the community. Wi’am has a long tradition to be a catalyst to the restoration of hope and joy in the community through the Christmas Smile Project.
Through the communal celebration of Christmas, Wi'am engages children and provides them with opportunity to enjoy the event and share each other the message of Christ. The children are able to participate in corals, dances, songs, clowns, and theatre and receive a pleasant Christmas gift. Through this, Wi'am share the community their joy and help children share the meaning of Christmas/festivities.
Objectives of the Christmas event:
-Provide a communal Christmas celebration where children and parents can experience hope and joy
-Provide a safe place for children to participate in a variety of activities
- Provide the children with a constructive educational gift
Opening Ceremonies Drum Band
Invocation & Greetings-
Tree Lighting with Santa
Exhibition of children's crafts and handwork during the Summer Camp
Theatre and clown performance
Distribution of educational gifts
The Christmas activities will reach approximately around 800 underprivileged children and 200 elderly members of the community, all with a diverse background.
Your generous contribution to this project will enable us to provide a day of entertainment and a solemn remembrance of the message of Christmas. Your donation may not only provide a child with joyful memories of Christmas but also help restore his lost hope.
We estimate that a gift can cost up to 20 $ for each child.
We estimate that a gift can also cost to 30 $ for a widow, an elderly member.
We also estimate that the event will cost $6000-7000 between logistics, personnel, theatre shows, clowns, hospitality, renting of equipment, etc.
Your generous contribution will go towards bringing back the lost Smiles to children’s faces and help families cope with the burden of buying presents to their children. Your donation will help us make this event become a yearly tradition that rejuvenates hope and peaceful memories in children’s life.
Let us help the kids enjoy a normal Christmas full of hope, peace and good will. “Our faith in God does not allow us to lose hope. The day will come, and we pray soon, when joy will replace grief, trust will remove fear, justice will triumph over oppression”. Philippians (3:10)