TBHF school in Palestine serves as a makeshift quarantine centre

TBHF school in Palestine serves as a makeshift quarantine centre
TBHF school in Palestine serves as a makeshift quarantine centre

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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - The Big Heart Secondary School for the hearing impaired in the Palestinian city of Qalqilya is now a quarantine centre.

The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian organisation dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, has announced the conversion of The Big Heart Secondary School for the hearing impaired in the Palestinian city of Qalqilya in the West Bank, into a quarantine centre for residents in the area who are showing symptoms and have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, which has said to have gripped over 300,000 people worldwide according to latest news reports.

This strategic humanitarian decision by TBHF has followed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ declaration of a 30-day state of emergency on Mar.5, 2020, after 60 cases of COVID-19 were reported in occupied Palestine. The TBHF school management in cooperation with Municipality of Qaliqyla, Palestine and Qalqilya Governate Health Directorate, have fully prepared the school by securing beds for patients, and taken all required safety and precautionary measures to separate confirmed from suspected cases, ensuring the best possible care is offered to all who come into this makeshift medical facility.  

Maryam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, said: “Palestine’s healthcare and social infrastructure isn’t fully equipped in case a large number of coronavirus cases were reported. Global experiences and efforts in the past months have made it amply clear that agile and aggressive use of quarantines will work best in containing the spread of the coronavirus.

“It is in these circumstances that it becomes the duty of institutions to step in to help vulnerable countries in ways they can. It was with the objective to assist and cooperate with authorities in Qalqilya city that we decided to convert The Big Heart School into a quarantine centre to house and treat COVID-19 patients.” Al Hammadi added. 

TBHF established the $2.5 million secondary school in 2018 in partnership with Welfare Association, Palestine’s largest non-profit organisation, for 45,000 students with speech and hearing disabilities. The school has been working to improve the students’ academic performance through the provision of specialist educational facilities that cater to their personal and academic requirements. The 2,000 sq m school premises include a five-storey building comprising 18 classrooms, a library, computer rooms, a speech therapy and hearing examination department and dormitories for male and female students.

The Palestinian authorities announced that the school, which has been equipped with the necessary equipment for quarantine and treatment under the supervision of specially trained medical teams, has started receiving patients who are showing symptoms as well as affected COVID-19 cases.

GLOBAL SEARCH

In just two weeks, more than 40 applicants from six countries used the online audition and interview process to become part of the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy, SPAA.

The online auditions and interviews were conducted to continue SPAA’s global search for talented students following the closure of all schools and higher education institutions due to the coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak.

Executive Director of SPAA, Professor Peter Barlow, said, “In these challenging times, young people from all over the world who want to become professional performing and production artists are staying positive and getting creative with their applications. We are in a very lucky position to be able to connect with our current students and engage with potential students through online platforms. The quality of the applicants using video auditions and interviews has been outstanding. We are still supporting the professional performing arts in these challenging times by moving some expectations and practices from the physical world to the virtual world; we are lucky to have the technology to keep building our successful and exciting academy.”

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