managed by Basma G. (Communication)
•The Al-Basma" ("smile" in Arabic) Special Education Center exists to serve the developmentally disabled in the Bethlehem area and refugee camps. Founded in 1987 as a modest project to serve disenfranchised youth, Al-Basma soon became a vital part of the community. Families now rely on the Center for programs designed for youth with special developmental needs.
•Our mission is to empower our clients and improve their quality of life, prepare them to participate in mainstream society, and strive to overcome barriers separating the handicapped and non-handicapped in our community. To achieve this, we foster in our students the recognition of equality with their peers along with pride in the crafts they produce and skills they master. The result is an immense growth of personal confidence and ability in young adults who previously suffered isolation and rejection from society. Our interactions with the non-handicapped further develop these skills while building trust and understanding within our community.
•Here at the Center, emphasis is given to programs teaching the essentials of daily life. Students learn skills in social interaction as well as personal hygiene and self care. Additionally, we have developed programs that nurture a sense of creativity, providing opportunity for students to display artisanship in skills such as olive wood carving, weaving, recycling paper, and creating recycled fuel for heating the Center.
•By providing an atmosphere where such talents can mature, previously outcast youth with limited capacities develop a rich connection to their community. The love and respect they learn here greatly assists them in building relationships in the outside world.
•Thank you so very much for your interest. Please let us know if you have any questions. And if you’re in the Bethlehem area, come visit us. Ahlan wa sahlan! We love meeting new people, and we're sure you'll leave with a smile.
•Al-Basma… where smiles and hope abound.