The School of Joy was founded by Randa AbuSada in 1993 in Beit Sahour, the town of the shepherds, just few miles from the birth place of our savior Jesus (Nativity Church - Bethlehem). The school was founded to improve the overall quality of life for students who have low academic achievement in greater Bethlehem area.
The prevailing harsh political and economical situation our area is going through has affected almost every member of our community and specially the children and young people. An increasing number of children are dropping out off schools and heading for the streets, specially those ones who suffer from low academic achievements and are coming from poor families. Noticing the alarming numbers of dropout children roaming the streets and in response to the requests from the distraught parents, The school was started for the children with special needs and for the poor/orphan children. He has recruited 6 teachers, who are receiving less than half of the normal salary, and furnished the school with the needed disks, chairs, and equipments. The school relies mainly on the generous donations from the local and international communities, in addition to the small amount of fees collected from some of the students who can pay.
The School of Joy now serves 51 children between 6-14 years old, and seven youth between 16-23 years old. The School is considered their home offering its services to poor, orphan children, and also children with learning difficulties without regard to race, religion or color. And there are continual requests to take more students. There is a waiting list of at least 50 further "at risk" children which.
Also many of the children served at this school suffer from a low academic achievement that is due to a Minimal brain damage, bad home environment or bad schooling, Children with minimal brain damage include those who have Dyslexia, Right Hemisphere, Learning Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder and other.
Our Mission is to rehabilitate mentally disabled and emotionally distorted children by preparing them for greater self-sufficiency and independent living, and to make them productive
members of the society. Since we started we have been working on the ethical and human rights for these children, so that they can live a better life as human beings. One of the things we appreciate is to protect the child from being in the streets. Signs of support and sympathy must be shown, in order to give the child his right in education.
The school consists of several class rooms for teaching in addition to several workshops for vocational training and Olive Wood carving. The school also provides some internal and external facilities for children to play. The school provides the children with transportation to and from school.
The Aims of the School:
- To prevent deterioration of the problem of street children.
- To provide the children with schooling appropriate to their needs and to enable them to catch up so that they can return to the normal school routine as soon as possible.
- To improve quality of life for pupils who have Low academic achievement in greater Bethlehem region.
- To prevent the growth of a population of Palestinian street children.
- To provide a safe environment for children who have dropped out from normal schooling and to enable them to continue their education in anticipation of returning to normal school in the near future.
Accepting difference as ordinary, and not an excuse to dismiss, reject or ridicule. To give opportunity to disabled people getting the full and effective education they need.