GAZA – Thomas Aquinas Center was established in Gaza in March 2018 through the generous donations of local and international benefactors as to upgrade the skills of the Christian youth in Gaza Strip. The center provides various courses including capacity building, English, computer science and personnel management to enhance professional capacities for the youth and support their career development in a Christian environment. The St. Thomas Aquinas Center also proposes to put young people in contact with international people and institutions so as to offer them the opportunity to learn and engage in other different languages and cultures, especially due to the fact that the vast majority of these youth cannot travel outside Gaza.
For over ten years, Israel had imposed isolation on the Gaza Strip from the outside world, which maintains direct and indirect control over the entire Strip. The Christians of Gaza are a small community whose presence is almost disappearing due to the countless adversities which include the lack of work. A high percentage of youth unemployment is reached, forcing those who can to leave and abandon their native land. Thus, in order to stop the migratory hemorrhage of the young Christian inhabitants of this territory and support and motivate them to study and work in Gaza; the Latin Patriarchate emphasizes the importance of continuous support for the center.
With the generous donation of Luxemburg Lieutenancy through the Grand Magisterium in Rome, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was able to pay the salaries of 5 trainers and one project manager for three months and a half months which amounted to 25-35 USD per hour depending on their level of experience and job description.
Positive feedback was received from the benefited youth on the training sessions and capacity building courses. All claimed that it benefited them in several ways and developed their skills in languages and computers. This generous donation also helped in creating job opportunities for the trainers and coordinators of the program which has a positive impact on them and their families.