Spanish School «Virgen del Pilar» (Jerusalem)
Brief history of the origins
The School of our Lady of Pilar was founded in Jerusalem, Old City in the year 1923. It started with a school for little children and it got extended throughout the years up to the state in which it is today, with 195 girls from pre-school to pre – university studies. Thirteen classes in all.
The first works to enlarge the school were done in 1931 with the help of the Custody of Holy Land and some charitable organizations.
The school functioned, imparting only primary education up to the year 1954 in which the Jordan Government approved the secondary education and new works were made to adapt the school to its new situation.
Aim of the school
The school sited in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, in the “Christian Quarter” was established to help in the education of the poorest girls of the area. This aim is valid up to today. Palestinian girls, both, Christians and Moslems receive education in the school. They are taught according to the programme of the Palestinian Ministry of Education. The programme includes all the normal subjects for instruction, plus the learning of four languages, and the teaching of Christian religion for the Christian girls of different rites, and Koran for the Moslem girls.
The school puts the stress on the integral formation of the girls and on the fraternal relationship among teachers and girls of the same origins but with a different religion. Through forming girls we are contributing to the creation of better women for the future society which we expect it to be more fraternal and tolerant.
The families of our girls hardly pay what is due in the form of school fees.
The school subsists with the little some parents contribute and mainly with private donations.
The number of teachers is twenty three. To this number we have to add the Directress, the accountant for the issues concerned with paying of Government taxes, one general secretary, one part time secretary for the Arabic Document related to the Education Ministry and a part time cleaner. The Directress and other Religious Sisters are not remunerated for their services. There is nobody employed for school maintenance.
Three of the teachers come daily from the West Bank area.
The regular expenditure of the school consists on paying monthly workers salaries; school material such as books, notebooks, exam paper, paper for posters, material for manual work; and payment of current expenditure such as electricity, water, and ink for photocopiers and printing machines.
The extra expenditure is related with renewal of machines such as computers for the girls and administration, paying of maintenance experts, keeping up of buildings and emergency works.
Of the 197 girls attending school in 2012/20123, ONLY 27 parents or responsible authorities have paid the amount required by the end of February (only two thirds of the annual fees). The financial situation of the school is critical and we fear that the services we provide to our students may be reduced next scholastic year, endangering our girl’s welfare and education.
When a donation comes to the school, it becomes a great help to the girls themselves who may continue studying, a help to their parents who will find it easy to cope with other needs they have at home, and a help to the School as such, to be able to go on helping our needy children in their integral education.
The easiest way to help the school is through grants or adoptions of girls. The method to follow may be either to send to the school an amount of money yearly as a lamp sum or to send it in several installments with the chosen periodicity, and so, pay the school fees of one girl throughout the year.
Several years ago we fixed one bursary in € 400 yearly, and this figure has not been changed. Nowadays, this amount is not enough to cover all year expenses (fees, books, uniform, educational material, school trips, etc.), but when necessary we combined two or more donations to complete one grant.
We normally thank for the donation and give the name of one girl. At the end of the school year we send the certificate of the girl for the donor to see. We do not facilitate the personal relationship with each particular girl because it creates many problems in the culture of this country.
The grant intends to come across the payment of school fees. It is left for the responsible people to pay all the other items such as Registration fee, books, other school material and uniforms. Many parents do not pay all this either.