At present, the Diyar Consortium’s three major programs focus on ministry to individuals in different life stages. These ministries include the Diyar Academy for Children and Youth and the Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture, and as the Ajyal Elderly-Care Program. A significant portion of each of the projects focuses on working with youth and women because these segments of Arab populations have been found to be most vulnerable.
Diyar Academy for Children and Youth
In an environment of continued military occupation and violence, children and youth in Palestine are at great risk. To support children with positive creativity, the Diyar Academy for Children and Youth provides pupils with lessons in music, drama and dance, art, and sports. These activities encourage children to think of the sky as the limit. By equipping young learners for the future, the Diyar Academy for Children and Youth contributes to the promotion of a culture of life and dialogue that celebrates a dynamic identity. It embraces positive values and as well as local heritage and traditions. These values are critical not only to the growth of the Palestinian children and youth, who make up more than 50% of the Palestinian population, but to the entire community at large.
Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture
The Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture is the first college in Palestine to specialize in the performing and visual arts as well as cultural heritage and design. Located in the Bethlehem region, the institution is dedicated to providing quality education that meets the economic, social, cultural and spiritual needs of Palestinian youth. The college offers six bachelor’s degrees, four-year programs which include emphases in Contemporary Fine Art, Film Production, Graphic Design, Cultural and Sustainable Tourism, and more. There are also two-year academic diploma degree programs available, including Contemporary Fine Art, Documentary Film Production, Jewelry Production and Design, Art Education, a training program for Palestinian Tour Guides, and more.
Ajyal Elderly-Care Program
Because no public social security or health insurance is available for Palestinian residents over 65, elders in the Middle East are in great need of medical care and social services. Ajyal, which translates into “Generations”, is the first of its kind in Palestine to bring hope and healing to those age 65 and older so that they may discover and share the richness of life. It is a unique, comprehensive, elderly-care program that offers basic health services, spiritual fellowship, social support systems and opportunities for continuous education and growth. Unlike traditional dependency models, Ajyal has a proactive nature that explores the contributing potential of the elderly in Palestine. What began as a pilot program within a single Bethlehem congregation more than 10 years ago, the Ajyal Elderly-Care Program now serves seniors from the community at large. Within the first six months of operation, the number of elderly served by the program grew from 14 to 140. Within a few years, the number of participants is expected to rise to 700.
Each of these outreach programs of the Diyar Consortium relies on donations to provide opportunities for individuals to flourish in all stages of life. Global Ministries welcomes gifts for the Diyar Consortium to provide life-giving ministries for children, college students, and senior citizens.
Al-Kahf Arts and Crafts Center
The Diyar Consortium through the Al-Kahf Arts and Crafts Center is promoting a new way to support their work by offering handmade collections of art pieces. Crafts available for purchase on the Diyar Consortium's website include art pieces made with recycled glass, ceramics, embroidered textiles, olive wood crafts, and more. The Al-Kahf Arts and Crafts Center is run by Palestinian women as a way to revive the local community’s sense of beauty, strengthen Palestinian cultural identity, and enhance economic sustainability. Click here to visit Diyar Consortium’s website to browse handmade crafts and to support their work through purchasing a craft available through the Diyar Consortium.
March 2020: Update on Dar al-Kalima University
Dar al-Kalima University is located in the Bethlehem region, and is dedicated to providing quality education that meets the economic, social, cultural and spiritual needs of Palestinian young adults. The school offers six bachelor’s degree programs in areas such as Contemporary Fine Art, Film Production, Graphic Design, and Cultural and Sustainable Tourism. The school also offers several two-year academic degree programs.
Amid the state of emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dar al-Kalima University has been able to hold several classes virtually, but this is a unique, short-term opportunity. In regular circumstances, the college is not yet accredited to offer courses online, however, given the current situation, the Palestinian Ministry of Education has allowed the school to hold virtual classes. Approximately half of the classes are running online with 90% of the students able to connect to these courses.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire globe, the effects in Bethlehem, as in some other places, are disastrous. With the economy in Bethlehem heavily reliant on tourism, the recent shutdown, and the current travel environment, many people in Bethlehem are living without jobs. In addition to employees in the tourism sector, the 4,000 Palestinians who are permitted to work in Israel are banned from entering Israel currently, and also are living without jobs. In many countries, the government is helping compensate businesses and nonprofit organizations for these devastating challenges, however the Palestinian Authority is not positioned to offer such assistance.
Considering this overall context in Bethlehem, Dar al-Kalima is anticipating a sharp decline of up to a 90% reduction in tuition payment collection and a significant reduction in income generated for the University through guest services such as the restaurant, gift shop sales, and stays at the college guesthouse for the next several years. With these considerations in mind, the economic effects of this pandemic have the ability to drastically affect the school’s programs.
Global Ministries is walking in solidarity with Dar al-Kalima University, as well as all partners in Palestine and around the world during this unprecedented time. Global Ministries welcomes gifts of support and solidarity for Dar al-Kalima School as they face this new reality. Recognizing the new challenges ahead, Dar al-Kalima seeks support for scholarship support of students and support for the salaries of the 115 staff members at Dar al-Kalima University in order to continue educating the next generation of creative leaders in Palestine.