IOCC Assists Holy Land’s Disabled

Suma, 39, welcomes visitors with a warm smile and an invitation to see her latest knitting project at Four Homes of Mercy. The rehabilitation and care center serves as a lifeline and long-term care home for more than 70 severely disabled children and adults with nowhere else to turn for help. Samir Zananiri/IOCC

Source: International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)

Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — The meningitis that Suma, 39, contracted during infancy left her mentally impaired and unable to walk. She spent the next 17 years of her life traveling from Gaza to different rehabilitation hospitals in Jerusalem and Bethlehem for vital medical care, physical and occupational therapy. With the uprising of 1987, her family’s access to these hospitals suddenly became more difficult and Suma’s future looked bleak.

The Four Homes of Mercy in the biblical town of Bethany became Suma’s refuge. She was admitted in 1991 for round-the-clock care and rehabilitation, and has been there ever since. Suma is one of more than 70 residents with disabilities who shared similar uncertain fates until they were brought to Four Homes of Mercy in the West Bank. For 73 years, the institution has been providing a life-long home and rehabilitation services to men, women and children with special needs from the region, including those abandoned by family members embarrassed to have relatives who were physically or neurologically impaired. It is one of only three long-term care facilities in the entire West Bank region.

Severe cutbacks in funding in the past year have now left the facility’s own future in question as they struggle to operate on diminished funds. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), in cooperation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, is providing an emergency grant to help the institution continue the lifesaving work it is doing in the West Bank. The grant will provide short-term funding for food, medicine and the therapists and caretakers at Four Homes of Mercy. It will also ensure that permanent residents like Suma will continue to have a place to live in dignity for the rest of their days.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES
International Orthodox Christian Charities is the humanitarian agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered more than $400 million in humanitarian relief and development programs to families and communities in 50 countries. IOCC is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.

Media contact: Rada K. Tierney, IOCC Media Relations, 443-823-3489, rtierney@iocc.org

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