Barnabas Israel is a registered non-profit organisation that exists to provide humanitarian support to Bedouin people in the Negev Desert in Israel. We are made up of individuals from England, Ireland, America, Brazil and Israel.
Our primary goal is to improve the lives of the Bedouin people through education and to assist them in times of need through the provision of practical support with items such as food and clothing.
We started going to that tribe around 8 years ago, without knowing exactly how or where to start a work. After analyzing our possibilities and their necessities, we were asked to help them open a school in their area.
Due to bureaucracy and other practical things, the Emmaus Kindergarten was opened in September 2011 for 17 little Bedouin children from 2 to 5 years old. The school was bilingual: Arabic and English, since the Bedouins speak Arabic. Our aim was not only teach them language, but help them understand the importance of hygiene, good manners, socialization, motor coordination and everything that was needed for them to be prepared for 1st grade.
After 3 years of classes and more than 50 children being taught (some stayed with us for 2 or 3 years), we saw the necessity of also helping out their siblings that were already in primary/middle school.
This was when the Homework club was created. Between 12 and 36 children from 6 to 16 years old get together twice a week to be helped by us in their homework. Many of those have been getting higher grades since they started coming to the H.C. in our center.
Also our hearts go toward the women in that community. In that society they are not counted worth of anything. Hopeless, broken, depressed, imprisoned, left behind are how they are living their lives.
Seeing those things we couldn’t let them out of our project, then a new project started. Language center was created to teach them written Arabic, since most of them are illiterate. Alongside the Language Center, we provide a safe environment for them to meet and talk. Befriending the Bedouin ladies was the most amazing thing we could do: It opened our eyes for their necessities and let us understand their world better.
The Emmaus Education Center – where all the projects take place – is our first major venture although we have been doing small pieces of support work since we became established. You can keep up-to-date with our progress by reading our recent news.