The Church of Scotland supports the work of a number of non-profit organisations throughout Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. These are three of our partners here in the Galilee region.
Sindyanna of Galilee
Established in 1996, Sindyanna of Galilee is the only certified fair-trade olive oil producer in Israel that operates among the country’s Arab population bringing foresight, deep functional expertise, and a practical approach to build capabilities and deliver real impact. Our staff consists of Arab and Jewish women who share a vision of peaceful coexistence, and work towards this goal side by side with skill, care, and a passion for the craft.
Sindyanna has a unique partnership with the Church of Scotland. Here is what they say about it: ‘The Scottish Grove project that was planted in 2012, is not just to help a farmer market his olive oil; we helped farmers reclaim 30 dunams of derelict, uncultivated land in the heart of the Jezreel Valley below Nazareth and transform it into a flourishing olive grove. Our partners in this exciting journey are the owners of the land – the Abu Hatum family from Yafi’a, and the Church of Scotland. This marvelous olive grove allows us to promote the modernization of traditional Arab farming and agriculture by introducing new techniques, irrigation, and olive cultivars; aid sustainable cultivation and agriculture; invest all future proceeds of the grove in community projects that promote fair employment for Arab women’.
Sindyanna’s Visitors Center in Kfar Kanna, welcomes tourists from abroad as well as Israelis, while serving as a meeting place for Jews and Arabs.
House of Grace
House of Grace began in the early days of the marriage of Kamil and Agnes Shehade, when they opened their home to recently released prisoners, offering shelter, stability, respect and dignity. As the need grew, so did the House. The Shehades renovated the Madonna Greek Melkite Church in 1982 to create the first ever halfway house for released prisoners in Israel. Since then the House’s unique warm family environment has become a haven for all marginalised members of society regardless of gender, race or religious background. Over the years the work of House of Grace has developed with the growing needs of the community.
Today, in addition to prisoner rehabilitation, House of Grace also provides support to families in need, offering modest financial help and guiding them through the process of accessing state support. It also runs a youth centre where children 7-17 years old can find help with their studies, receive counselling for family problems, and participate in volunteer activities within the community.
The mission of House of Grace is to empower the most disenfranchised and marginalized members of the local community in Haifa, who are mainly from the Arab minority, by encouraging personal responsibility, individual transformation and wider social change through our projects.
The Galilee Society
The Galilee Society – The Arab National Society for Health, Research and Services (R.A.) – is a leading Palestinian Arab non-partisan, community-wide, non-governmental organisation located in Israel, which was established by four healthcare professionals in 1981. The over-riding goal of the Galilee Society is to achieve equitable health, environmental and socio-economic conditions, and to increase development opportunities for Palestinian Arabs inside Israel, both as individual citizens and as a national minority living in their homeland. In its work the Galilee Society strives for a modern, democratic society based on pluralism and equality while seeking to retain the national identity, rich history and traditions of Palestinian Arab culture.
The Galilee Society consists of several departments: the Regional Centre for Research & Development as well as Al Maissam Medicinal Plants Centre, the Health Rights and Environmental Justice Centre, and the Rikaz Databank. Included in their work has been an HIV/AIDS educational programme financially supported by the Church of Scotland and a programme to raise breast cancer awareness amongst Arab women.
Wi’am (Bethlehem): The Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center focuses on helping to resolve disputes within the Palestinian community by complementing the traditional Arab form of mediation, called Sulha, with Western models of conflict resolution. It also provides services for women and children and seeks to educate the local community on human equality and basic rights.
Tent of Nations (Bethlehem hills): Tent of Nations brings different cultures together to develop understanding and promote respect for each other and our shared environment. The organic farm is a centre where people from many different countries come together to learn, to share, and to build bridges of understanding and hope.
YWCA of Palestine (East Jerusalem and Ramallah): The YWCA of Palestine supports and aspires to create women leadership, especially among young women and girls, to realize their full rights and capabilities, and to promote and advance their full participation in decision-making on equal footing with men and in all aspects of their lives as they contribute to building a democratic and free civil society.
Atfaluna (Gaza): Atfaluna’s mission is to improve the lives of deaf persons in the Gaza Strip by empowering them socially, economically, culturally, and civilly. Thousands of deaf children, adults, and their families are served annually at Atfaluna through deaf education, audiology, speech therapy, vocational training, parents’, teachers’ and community training and awareness programs, and many other services and programs.