The Big Heart Foundation school in Palestine’s Qalqilya city serving as a makeshift quarantine centre

School for deaf and mute established by TBHF opens its doors tothose gripped by
and suspected of having the COVID-19virus

For immediate release
Sharjah, 25 March 2020

The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian organization dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, has announced the conversion of The Big Heart Secondary School for the Deaf and Mute in the Palestinian city of Qalqilya in the West Bank, into a quarantine centre for residents in the area who are showing symptoms as well as 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 a30-day state of emergency on March 5, 2020,after 60cases of COVID-19 were reported in occupied Palestine. The TBHF school management in cooperation with Municipality of Qaliqyla,Palestine havefully prepared the school by securing beds for patients, and taken all required safety and precautionary measures to separate confirmed from suspected cases, ensuringthe best possible care is offered to all who come into this makeshift medical facility.

Maryam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, said: “Palestine’shealthcare and social infrastructure isn’t fully equipped in case a large number of coronavirus cases were reported. Global experiences and effortsin 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 withauthorities in Qalqilya city that we decided to convert The Big Heart School into a quarantine centreto house and treat COVID-19 patients.” Al Hammadi added.

TBHFestablished the US$2.5million 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 sqm 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.