About Birzeit Senior Center
Christian Elders have remained in the Holy Land courageously and faithfully to witness their faith and resist oppression. In today’s conditions of violence and unrest, they are some of the most vulnerable citizens in the region. Because younger generations often leave their native towns and villages to seek employment elsewhere, many seniors find themselves alone and isolated. In response to this, HCEF established the BSCC, providing, elderly with hot meals, healthcare, health education, leisure activities, day trips, and most importantly, with companionship. The elders are given the gift of knowing that they are neither alone nor forgotten. The BSCC has restored their sense of family and has given them something bright to look forward to.
The Birzeit Senior Center was first opened in 2005 with a vision to provide a place for the elderly citizens of Birzeit to come together in community. Since then, it has served over 55 seniors in the Birzeit community, connecting them with like-minded peers who enjoy organized activities throughout Palestine together. The Birzeit Senior Center has been a place of hope, life, and community for 10 years!
History of Birzeit
The town of Birzeit (translated as “Well of Oil”) is located 15 miles (25 kilometers) northwest of Jerusalem’s Center. It is a traditional Christian village whose ruins date back to the Byzantine era and beyond. Some inhabitants belong to a long family history that predates even the Byzantine age. An influx of Christians from the east migrated into the area about four hundred years ago to escape persecution and stayed in the area because they could enjoy more freedom to exercise their religious beliefs. The town is part of the historically Christian region north of Jerusalem.
The town of Birzeit is noted for its university, which is the best in Palestine. The university was funded by the Nasir family supported by friendly governments who wanted to help provide the education necessary for economic survival in today’s competitive world. The university has about 3,500 students and is growing. Overall the university remains separate from the town. Many of the students live in the town, and this compounds the feelings of hopelessness of the local young people who did not finish their education. In fact, few young people in Birzeit can afford to attend the university in their hometown. In the past they opted to take on manual work inside Israel to help with family expenses. Today, they do not have access to those jobs since they can no longer enter Jerusalem or Israel.