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Housing Project in the Holy Land

Maria Khoury

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The Lenten Solidarity Appeal is asking for just one dollar from every Christian abroad during Christmas and Easter. We are seeking churches to participate in the One Dollar Campaign for the Holy Land Housing by fundraising at least $1,000. Fifty churches can build one home for a Palestinian Christian family. Please adopt Taybeh as a mission poject during almsgiving this Holy Lenten Season. Total amount raised as of February 2004 is approximately $35,000.

Introduction

Greetings from the Holy Land of our Savior. We are asking your support for a vital housing project aimed at helping Palestinian Orthodox Christians keep their roots and presence in the land of Christ's birth. As mentioned in a Washington Post article dated March 17, 2000 "...long-term trends...have contributed to Christians' extraordinary exodus from the land of their forefathers ... Arab Christians make up no more than 2% of Israel and the West Bank." Many problems resulting from the political instability in the Middle East have contributed to this exodus.

We seek your help in reversing this trend by addressing one of these basic needs, housing. This proposal describes helping low-income families build homes in the small town of Taybeh.

Background

Taybeh, located between Jerusalem and Jericho is the only Christian town that has maintained a totally Christian population in the Holy Land. Taybeh is the modern name for the Biblical village of Ephraim. It is best known for the time Christ came to Taybeh to escape and rest with his disciples before his crucifixion. (John 11:54).

At the present time there are three churches and one small chapel in Taybeh. The first Greek Orthodox Church of St. George was built in the fourth century and now remains as ruins and a place of worship. Our church, was built in 1931 on top of an old church from the seventeenth century. The other two churches are the Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic Churches and one small chapel built by a French monk. Fr. Daoud P. Khoury, our parish priest can be reached at 972 (970) 2 289 8969 for further information.

The local residents of Taybeh are only 1300. However, there are 10,000 Palestinian Christians from Taybeh living abroad. One hundred years ago, the majority of Taybeh residents belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church under the Patriarchate of Jerusalem tracing their Christian roots to the first century but later converted. Many churches provide financial support such as free tuition at private Christian schools, housing benefits, and job creation. In l998, the Greek Orthodo x Patriarchate of Jerusalem allocated land in order to help needy families use land for free. A committee was appointed to search for funds and manage the housing project licensed under the Orthodox Youth Club of St. George's Greek Orthodox Church registered with the Palestinian Authority for permission to build. The families do not have $50,000.00 up front to build their first home thus we are trying to help them.

Project Objectives

  1. Improve the living conditions of families that do not currently own their own home.
  2. Help young married couples have their own home at a reduced cost.
  3. Create temporary jobs due to economic hardship from the siege and closures.
  4. Sustain the Christian community in this unique village and discourage immigration.

Beneficiaries

The first phase will benefit 12 families as soon as $300,000 is raised to start construction of the first 12 homes. The housing project is intended eventually to help thirty (30) needy families acquire their own homes at a low cost if they meet a strict financial need requirement. Each family must agree that they will not sell their unit except to another needy family or leave it to their own children. Fundraised money will equally be shared among the twelve families in this first phase of the project and homes can not be sold for profit except for what individuals contributed out of pocket. Engineering plans may be viewed at www.saintgeorgetaybeh.org.

Project Duration

This housing project is expected to be completed within five years and the One Dollar Campaign will stay in effect until Pascha 2006.

Each family was paying on a monthly basis about $70.00 towards the total cost. However, due to the tragic situation in the Holy Land, we have more than 60% of the people currently unemployed. None of the members have made payments in three years. The family payments are less than $50,000 in the Arab bank.

Financial Management Contributions will be managed by the housing committee in Taybeh and held in an account at the Arab Bank-Ramallah, Al Balad Branch. Your help is greatly needed. Donations may be sent by check to Taybeh O.C. Housing Project, P.O. Box 867, Ramallah, Palestine VIA ISRAEL.

Donations may also be sent electronic transfer to Arab Bank-Ramallah, Swift code ARABPS 22090, Al Balad Branch Account # 9090-662656/4/510 Taybeh Orthodox Club Housing Project, Via the Arab Bank New York, swift code ARAB US33. Please notify by email if there is a check in the mail/money transfer.

If a USA address is prefered, donations to help Taybeh can be made out to:

Metropolis of Boston Holy Land Housing
And mail to: The Metropolis of Boston, 162 Goddard Avenue, Brookline, MA 02445.

Housing Committee

Fr. Daoud P. Khoury (Parish priest)
Mother Agapia Stephanopoulos (References)
Dr. Grace C. Muaddi (Administration)
Mr. Naseem Fqier(Treasurer)
Mr. Elias Naser(Member)
Mr. Iskandar Mshirki(Member)
Dr. Maria C. Khoury (Chairperson) E-mail: khourymaria@hotmail.com
Tel/fax 972 2 289 8022

Get more information from the St. George Taybeh website.

Posted: 2/24/04



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