SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Palestine).

Bethlehem, with a population of 29,000, is situated in West Bank, which is home to 3.2 million people. Around 36% of the population is under 15 years old. The walls and fences that zigzag through the West Bank affect access to employment, education, water, and health care. With around a fifth of the population being unemployed, it is estimated that 36% of the population are living in poverty.

Since 1968, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Bethlehem.

1 in 6
Girls are married young in Palestine

Girls are married young

The age of maturity in Palestine is fixed at 18 years. However, child marriage is still practiced with 15% girls under 18 and 1% under 15 being married. However, there are many unreported, unregistered, and informal marriages. Some reports indicate more than 30% of girls are married before the age of 18. Further, 3 in 10 girls are married to a husband who is a first degree relative. Early marriage violates a girl’s right to health, education, and opportunity. They miss out on developing the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to become self-reliant adults.

1 in 3
Young children are nutritionally deficient

Children are malnourished

Is it estimated that there are 600,000 food insecure people in the West Bank. As poverty is often the cause of poor nutrition and a lack of access to basic services, approximately 35% of children under the age of 5 are at risk of not meeting their full developmental potential. Child malnutrition has multiple effects, from an inability to concentrate in school to poor cognitive function. It also causes poor growth and development, and can lead to a weakened immune system, resulting in illness.

Your support makes a difference for children in Bethlehem

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Young people and adult
Attend our trainings
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Chatting together and shraring stories. Children often take part of creative activities after school (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Palestine).

How your support helps in Bethlehem

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Some of the families live in different parts of Bethlehem, alongside other local families. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.