Monday, December 05, 2011

An Appeal

The Following is an Emergency Appeal from the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
-The Archer

We've never made an emergency request for one Diocesan institution before.  But the need is urgent.  Please, please do what you can to help Princess Basma Centre maintain its programs.  We're asking you to consider a special gift to make up for the funds which have been withheld or defunded by USAID, the Israeli government and other sources as a result of the Palestinian bid for UN membership.  As the only regional referral center for physically and mentally disabled children, Princess Basma is a critical resource for families of all faith and ethnic traditions 

 Please click here to make an easy and secure gift, or send a check designated for Princess Basma.  We're very grateful and so are the families they serve. 

Betty Majaj, Director of the Princess Basma Centre in East Jerusalem, sent an urgent message advising us that she faces a $200,000 deficit this year, cannot meet payroll, has shut down their outreach program and is evaluating which departments may have to be closed.  They have already drained the hydrotherapy pool and developed contingency plans. 

Those of you who have visited Princess Basma Centre know of the important work they do with deaf, crippled, developmentally delayed and autistic children.  It breaks your heart to see so many, but the energy and professionalism of the Centre gives hope to visitors and clients alike.  Literally a lifeline for families with nowhere else to turn. 

Travel restrictions in the area made the outreach programs essential to maintain progress.  Now USAID, funder of outreach and many other humanitarian aid programs in the region, has defunded the entire outreach program along with many others in Palestine.   It's unclear when or if the funding will be resumed.  
You may also have read that taxes that Palestinians paid to the Israeli government are not being returned to the Authority.  This means that workers are being laid off, funding for West Bank schools, including the school at Princess Basma, has been cut and projects such as clean water and infrastructure work have been suspended.  Security is also impacted. 
Betty Majaj contacted AFEDJ so we could communicate with each of you to support her mission and her families at this difficult time. Many of you know her and know she would not ask if the need weren't critical.

Your gifts now can help the Centre retain its highly trained staff -- saving them from layoffs right before Christmas.  Your gift of any size can help keep the heat on, the therapists working and the children learning.  Thank you for your prayerful consideration!

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