Origins of the school
Some time ago, a group of Syrian Orthodox Christians, originally from the borders of Turkey and Syria, made their home in Bethlehem. For many years the community dreamed of a school of their own where their traditions and especially the Aramaic language - the language that Jesus spoke - could be taught.
In 2000, a group of pilgrims from Coventry Diocese visited this community in Bethlehem and witnessed the plight of the children. On their return they were so moved by the situation that a support group was established to raise funds to help realise the community's dream and with significant funding from the Barnabas Fund a site was acquired which local workers transformed into the beautiful school that stands there today.
In September 2003 the school opened with 15 children. The quality, care and education was quickly recognised and the demand for places grew rapidly necessitating the need for more room. A third floor was added in 2006 providing 5 more classrooms. The school was officially opened in September 2006 with many foreign and local dignitaries attending. Canon Justin Welby represented Coventry Cathedral on behalf of the Bishop of Coventry, Bishop Colin and presented them a Cross of Nails.
The school today
Demand for school places are high and in August 2018 640 students are enrolled from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve. The amount of students means that the school will be needing more rooms very soon. The first senior group of students will be going to university this year and many students made good achievements in Technology, Maths and English.
Despite the successes the school has seen, the economic situation is still very difficult. Very few students come from families with good incomes. The number of tourists visiting Bethlehem is critically low making employment opportunities scarce. A large number of students cannot pay for their school fees or pay very little and rely on donations.
How you can help
There are a number of things you can do to support the school:
- Pray for peace in the Holy Land
- Pray for the school and Headteacher, Mrs Amal Behnam and the children and teachers
- Raise awareness of the situation (invite a SOCS group member to give a presentation)
- Buy a piece of equipment for the school or give a donation
To find out more about the school contact John Radford, chair of the SOCS committee.