About SIRA Bethlehem
SIRA – Swedish International Relief Association is a Swedish Christian ecumenical foundation that has been working in Bethlehem area since 1968. In the beginning it was serving epileptic and mentally disabled children.
In 1992 the Swedish board changed SIRA to be a special education school to meet the big need for such a school in the area, this need came to the surface due to the bad political situation which left a big number of students with special needs and difficult social situation who need special school to help them overcome their academic problems. From that time SIRA started to serve students with special needs such as academic problems, learning disabilities, week/short memories and slow learners. It is also clear that SIRA is coming out with good results, for the school is graduating more than ten students every year to be integrated in normal schools. There is a big need for SIRA in the area while it serves 70 students.
The school fees for one student costs 3300 NIS, while the most of SIRA students are considered as social cases that cannot pay the school fees.
SIRA has two branches one is located in Bethlehem and the other in Jericho, both branches have the same mission which is developing and strengthening the students self-confidence and helping students to overcome their learning difficulties to be able to integrate back in normal schools.
At present SIRA school in Bethlehem has 70 students; their ages are between 6-13 divided in seven classes according to their ages. At the moment SIRA in Bethlehem has seven class teachers, three assistant teachers, English teacher, music teacher, gymnastic teacher, art teacher and a teacher for Islamic religion in addition to a social worker a therapist , a secretary, caretaker and a cleaner. At SIRA we have a library, a kitchen a music hall a gymnastic hall a recourse room and the administration offices. The subjects taught inside classes are Arabic, English, math, science, general subjects, music, art, gymnastic, and religion.
The manager of SIRA is a Swede appointed by the Swedish Board, the staff, and principal are all Palestinians, the principal is responsible for the pedagogical process at the school.
SIRA students are from Bethlehem region with different background in religion, culture, traditions and social class. They are from camps, villages and cities.
General goals for SIRA
To help the students to go over their learning difficulties to be integrated lately in normal schools.
To educate the parents.
To spread the special education idea in the society and among other regular schools.
SIRA School is in cooperation with organizations like:
Bethlehem University, Caritas Jerusalem, Caritas Baby Hospital, Wings of
Hope, AVSI ( Italian Organization).
Future plan for SIRA
SIRA School for special education is the only school in Bethlehem offering special education for students with special needs. There is a great need and growing demand for this type of education, therefore developing the school from the academic side and adding more new classes to serve more children is our main concern , in addition to developing our classes and buildings because rehabilitating the school building and classes creates a better psychological and educational environment for the students.
God loves a cheerful giver
2 Corinthians 9:7