News from Friends of the Holy Land (April 2022)

With the tourism industry slow to recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic, a lifeline is being offered to help Christians develop new skills and find employment in the Holy Land.

Ecumenical charity Friends of the Holy Land (FHL) has launched a new vocational scholarship programme, Road to Success, to help Christians become less dependent on tourism and move into skills gaps in the region.

And this spring FHL is inviting churches to help people take their first steps in shortage skill areas such as IT, electrics, plumbing and nursing – by accepting the Pentecost sponsored challenge of walking, swimming or cycling in their own local area in a six-week virtual pilgrimage from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Along the way, participants will ‘visit’ key locations where Jesus once walked, meet the Christian community and hear about the work FHL is doing to support families as Covid continues to cause far-reaching hardship to Christian families largely dependent on pilgrims and tourists who remain largely absent.

FHL Executive Director, Brendan Metcalfe, said: “The fantastic news is that there is excellent training available from local vocational training centres, which see 90% of their students walking straight into a job.

“But with no government funding, many families struggle to afford fees. This is where we can help school leavers and people who lost work in the pandemic to find a new way forward with stable employment. Not only will they be able to support their families, but they can also fill key roles in their communities.

“The building blocks are all there, and so we are appealing to churches, schools, businesses and individuals this spring to step out on the Pentecost Challenge and help give people that vital step up through our new Road to Success scholarship programme.

“Most of us haven’t been able to visit the Holy Land and learn from its people, the ‘living stones’ of Christianity for years now; the virtual journey of the Pentecost Challenge provides an opportunity to do both of those things and enjoy some exercise. Please join in and help your brothers and sisters get back on their feet!”

Photograph: Students learning dressmaking at a clothes workshop.

Find out more about the Pentecost Challenge 2022

Watch! A student from FHL's ice cream employment project demonstrates his new skills