Bethlehem – The Palestine Red Crescent Society’s PRCS’ campaign, “30 Minutes With My Child”, is still gaining momentum in the towns and villages of the Bethlehem Governate in Palestine since its launch at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. The successful campaign has been achieved thanks to the helping hands of many of the PRCS 350, who enthusiastically engaged in delivering this initiative.

To learn more about the campaign’s creation, Ms. Judith al Sayej, PRCS’ Bethlehem branch Administrative Director, described the campaign saying that “at the beginning of COVID-19 outbreak, we decided to set up a psychological support team to help mothers, and subsequently their children, as part of the service provided by PRCS to local communities during these difficult times. We asked mothers to film their children as they carried out various activities, such as drawing, telling stories, and reciting poetry”. Judith explained how “the videos aimed to showcase the children’s creativity and allow them to express their feelings and emotions”.

Given the outstanding artistic skills displayed by the gifted children, who exhibited their talents in many videos, PRCS’ Bethlehem Branch decided to hold a contest and recognise the top 10 videos with an award. According to Judith al Sayej, the judges we select will be tasked with selecting the winning videos. The abilities of the boys and girls of Bethlehem in expressive art does not come as a surprise since the city boasts 10 museums and over 150 cultural centers and NGO’s.

“30 Minutes With My Child” owes a crucial part of its positive outcome to the PRCS volunteers. Salwa al Zeer, PRCS’ Bethlehem Branch Community Action Coordinator, shed some light on the instrumental role they played in the campaign. Our “volunteers have played a major role in the implementation of this campaign. The local communities’ response has also been high, and the campaign gained interest rapidly with people eager to display their children’s creativity. We were heartened by this response rate, which proves that we can do great things even in the most difficult of times”.

Speaking about this phenomenal campaign and as one of the volunteers, Ahmad Imteir, PRCS’ Bethlehem Branch’s Activities Officer, elaborated and added that “the current extraordinary context led us to focus on psychological support as part of our social mission”. He applauded the volunteers’ great job in the campaign and detailed the areas they participated in to keep the confined children on track. “They also assisted children in grade one through grade three with their schooling by resorting to distance learning solutions. This was done in a fun and accessible way, so children received gifts as an incentive to join this initiative”. He attributed the success of these activities to the imagination and originality of the children as well as the widespread participation among the local communities.

In its response to COVID-19, PRCS provided the following humanitarian services: Emergency medical Services, Health and Relief, and Psycho-Social Support (PSS). PRCS distributed food parcels to 12480 families in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPT), delivered medical services in primary health care centers to 1189 persons and activated 50 members of its PSS team to respond to people’s needs via phone sessions. The elderly and the patients who are dealing with chronic diseases have been visited at home by volunteers as well.

General Background:

PRCS was established in December 1968 as a national humanitarian organization to look after the health, welfare and well-being of the Palestinian people in West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq. PRCS, as a full member of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, goes the extra mile to provide humanitarian, health, cultural and social services with its 4,200 employees and a network of 20,000 volunteers.