John Paul II Foundation / Magazine / Welcome Back to School! Effetà reopens its doors to its 180 students

Welcome Back to School! Effetà reopens its doors to its 180 students

Sister Lara, director of the institute, recounts the school's reopening in a letter addressed to friends and supporters of Effeta Bethlehem

Dear friends and supporters of the Bethlehem Effeta Institute,

I hope this message reaches you at a time of serenity for you and your loved ones, despite the difficult reality we are facing, here in Bethlehem as in Italy.

The past months have been really hard, beyond the disease that has affected many of our brothers and sisters. The psychological, physical, economic and social impact of the pandemic has been very high, especially for the most fragile, such as our deaf students who attend the Effetà Institute in Bethlehem. After six months, unfortunately, we still cannot say that the worst is over;the situation in Palestine is still critical, but the children of Effetà need us, to be together, to start communicating and socializing again.

Today, after a good six months of forced closure due to the coronavirus, I am happy to make a big announcement: the Effetà Institute has reopened its doors to all our 180 beloved students!


Believe me, reopening a school during a pandemic is a truly arduous undertaking, one that has strained our organizational and financial set-up: from meetings with parents to inform them about the new rules to the periodic sanitization of the environments, from the daily distribution of masks and sanitizing gels for all staff and pupils to the reduction in the number of students per class, nothing is the same as before, except for the joy in our children's faces at the reopening of school.

Yes, because to read their lips and see their emotions we are using protective shields and transparent masks, otherwise it would be impossible for students to communicate with us and each other.

The pandemic was, and still is, a real challenge, in all aspects, because it forced us to rethink our teaching model and every single procedure down to the smallest detail. But it is worth it, because every single effort made to reopen the school turns into achievement every time one of our children can understand a sentence, utter a word, communicate an emotion.


For them we must go forward. For them we will always be there, as we have been for the past 49 years, to give every child a chance to have a future despite deafness.

But to continue doing this we really need your help. The situation of the parents of our students is really dramatic; many of them have lost their jobs, and the children's needs are no longer just educational or health-related. Everything is really needed now.

The health and education of our students are top priorities. With your help we can continue to ensure them.

Thank you for all you can do. May God bless you!

Sr Lara Hijazin

Director of the Paul VI Effeta Institute in Bethlehem

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