Girls and boys in Palestine grow up in a continually stressful environment full of tension and political conflict. Given this background, Talitha Kumi seeks to provide a safe setting where young people can learn and develop.
The Educational Centre of Talitha Kumi is located in Beit Jala close to Bethlehem. The school provides classes at all educational levels, from first grade to high-school level. Our complex also includes a kindergarten, a community college, a boarding school for girls, as well as a large guest house. We currently have 760 students registered at the school, 130 children at the kindergarten, and 90 students attending the community college; half of them are Christians and the other half are Muslims. Moreover, 50 percent of our students are girls.
Situated ten kilometers south of Jerusalem, Talitha Kumi was built on a small hill and is surrounded by woodland. The school takes its name from the Aramaic for “Get up, girl!” (Mark 5:21-24). This phrase, first uttered by Jesus, has been our mandate and task ever since the school was founded in 1851, making it the oldest Protestant school on Palestinian territory. Our guiding principle is the message of peace as proclaimed in the Gospel.
Girls are disadvantaged in Palestinian society, and so it is our aim to give them equal learning opportunities and support their talents. Talitha Kumi is a pioneering co-educational school in Palestine, providing a setting where boys and girls have been able to learn side by side since 1980.
Mediation and Peace Building
Schoolchildren are exposed to violence on a daily basis as a result of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and it goes without saying that this violence sometimes ends up in the playground. For this reason, we began training students as mediators in 2007. Students learn to mediate in conflicts, prevent violence, and help the parties reach a solution that both sides support. After completing their program, our goal is that they should become active mediators for younger students, promote diplomacy, and avert violence. Moreover, we would like to give them a means of conflict resolution which they can readily apply outside our school environment, too.
Since 2005, Sumaya Farhat-Naser, a prominent peace activist, has been working with our young people in a special program called “Dialogue and Personality Development.”
German and Palestinian Secondary Education Certificates
Since the 2008/09 school year, Talitha Kumi has been part of the international network of German Foreign Schools. We follow the Palestinian curriculum in elementary school and add German as a foreign language in second grade. From seventh grade onwards, students can choose between two different paths: the national curriculum or the international curriculum. The national curriculum leads to the Palestinian high school degree (Tawjihi), while the international program concludes with the German International Abitur (DIAP). The DIAP is recognized worldwide, paving the way for students to study abroad.
Sponsors and Partners
The Berlin Mission is the official sponsor of Talitha Kumi and has been responsible for all decisions regarding personnel, administration and finances in cooperation with the German Federal Office of Administration. It shares the educational responsibility with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL). The church supports three schools. Its congregations and schools are sponsored in Germany by the Jerusalemsverein (Jerusalem Society).
The purpose of the Berlin Mission is to maintain and develop partnerships between the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia, the Protestant Church of Anhalt, and other churches worldwide. Hence its work in the Middle East is supported by its sponsoring churches. However, in order to continue its wide variety of activities abroad, the Berlin Mission increasingly needs the financial support of private and institutional donors.