The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF), in its continued efforts to bring Palestinians together and to promote its heritage and culture, has formed a partnership with the Arab Club of El Salvador, a country home to over 60,000 Palestinians.
Afife Khoury, Randa Hasfura, both Alumni of HCEF’s Know Thy Heritage (KTH) leadership program, and Evelyn Zablah, a newly accepted KTH delegate, prepared a series of meetings for Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, HCEF President/CEO, and his wife Mrs. Rocio Rabie, Public Relations Officer for HCEF, connecting them with esteemed Salvadorian community leaders. One of the most fruitful meetings occurred with the Arab Club and its Board of Directors.
|With Arab Club Board of Directors – PICTURED: (Front) Don Jorge Bahaia, President (Left to Right) KTH Alumni, Afife Khoury and Randa Hasfura; Mr. Elias Silhy, Directore; Sir Rateb Rabie, HCEF President/CEO; Mr. Issa Bandak, Director; Mr. Edgar Saade, Deputy Secretary; Mr. Enrique Daboub, Treasurer; Mr. Roberto Kury, Deputy Treasurer; Mr. Siman Khoury, Director; NOT PICTURED: Mrs. Sandra Hasbun, Manager; Dr. Victor Saca, Vice President; Lic. Gilberto Dahbura, Secretary; Mr. Mauricio Safie, Director; Mr. Antonio Zarzar, Director; Dr. Roberto Ahues, Director; Dr. Javier Siman, Trustee.|
|A plaza in El Salvador honoring the achievement of Palestinians in the country.|
The Arab Club is a hub for the Palestinian community of El Salvador, a place where they can meet together and collaborate on national and international initiatives for the greater good of Salvadorian Palestinians, and Palestinians all over the world. In conjunction with the Arab Club’s efforts, HCEF’s KTH program, which brings Diaspora Palestinian youth back home to Palestine every year, has effectively put Palestinian youth of El Salvador into focus. These youth have great potential to change the lives of their fellow Palestinians and citizens in El Salvador. They shine bright as examples of the resilient and creative character true to Palestinians wherever they may live.
Through his meeting with HCEF, the Arab Club Board Members and President agreed to promote the Know Thy Heritage program and inspire Palestinian youth in El Salvador in advocacy, business, the arts, and more. In addition to promoting KTH, the Arab Club also agreed on an initiative to create a branch of the Bethlehem Museum – one of HCEF’s most recent and profound achievements – in El Salvador. The purpose of this Bethlehem Museum Salvador Exhibit is to show El Salvador the rich culture and heritage of Palestine, and to encourage Palestinians in El Salvador to gather their artifacts for preservation in the exhibit and to put them on display for all to admire.
|Sir Rateb Rabie presents mother of pearl ornament gift, a Palestinian handicraft, to Dr. Victor Saca, Arab Club Vice President|
Reflecting on his meeting with the Arab Club and others in El Salvador, Sir RatebRabie exclaimed, “It is clear that our brothers and sisters in El Salvador have kept Palestine proudly in their hearts along with the mission of the Church. This has given them the drive to become hugely influential and proactive in all aspects of life in El Salvador – there is a noticeable and positive reputation surrounding the Palestinian population here. And in addition to their great drive is a deep generosity to match. My wife and I have been welcomed here like family, and we have also been received as partners in the great mission to serve the Palestinian cause along with the goals of the Church.”
|Sir Rateb Rabie with Randa Hasfura and … at a memorial dedicated to Abu Ammar|
In addition to meeting with the Arab Club, Sir RatebRabie and Rocio Rabie were also able to connect with many other prominent organizations and individuals in El Salvador. One meeting was strictly with Palestinian youth of El Salvador, all of whom committed to volunteering for HCEF’s mission. Many of the other meetings focused on the promotion of Palestinian handicrafts and other products to be sold in El Salvador. Promoting and selling these products empowers Palestinians in Palestine to achieve the means they need to care for themselves and their families. Additionally, Palestinian culture is exemplified by the quality and creativity of these products. The youth will play a significant role in promoting Palestinian products, and the meetings conducted by HCEF in El Salvador have paved the way for new programs that will benefit Palestinians there and throughout the world.
HCEF also succeeded in spreading the reach of its Living Stones Pilgrimage (LSP) program, which has now established a connection with Salvadorian churches. Members of these churches will start making Living Stone Pilgrimages as early as September of this year.