Many children in Israel are at risk because their parents can no longer care for them. Whether the parents are deceased, poverty-stricken, afflicted with mental illness, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or caught up in a life of crime, the children are the ones who suffer most.
Thankfully, the Fellowship-funded Neve Michael Children’s Home provides a safe haven for 3- to 18-year-olds throughout Israel who are impacted by these traumatic circumstances. The children’s home provides sustenance, education, and a warm and caring environment. Their mission is to "help our children overcome their family misfortunes and guide them toward a better future."
The children are assigned to family units to provide them with the love, support, and stability lacking in their young lives. The site’s therapy enrichment center is tailored to meet the children's individual needs, and the therapy counseling unit works with families to keep them intact when possible. The home even offers a 24-hour crisis center that receives children to the home in emergency circumstances.
Learning to Smile After Years of Neglect
Seven years have passed since the day when Shoshy, her big sister, and two older brothers arrived at the Fellowship-sponsored Neve Michael Emergency Crisis Center. Shoshy, a four-year-old girl with blonde hair, couldn’t stop crying and wouldn’t let go of her sister’s hand on that awful afternoon. As the staff at this Fellowship-supported center learned more about the siblings’ past, they knew the children would have a long road of recovery.
Their parents treated them brutally, and all four children showed signs of physical abuse. The children’s neighbors, who saw and heard what was going on and reported what they knew to the Welfare Authorities, stated that more than once the children were locked out in the courtyard and forced to hold cinder blocks for hours.
Additionally, the siblings were not properly clothed or fed, and they never went to school or made friends.
Thankfully, when the older children met with the Neve Michael psychologists, they opened up about their suffering and began working through the trauma. But Shoshy remained silent. Patiently, a psychologist works with Shoshy one-on-one every day to help her through the pain and allows her to heal in her own time.
The children were placed in a family home with a loving married couple and their children. Now they know how it feels to be surrounded by love, to receive a kind smile, and to be taken care of by responsible adults who feed, nourish, and educate them.
The years have passed, but the scars, both physical and emotional, still remain. But their lives have only gotten better since their early childhood. Now they can look forward to their future and know they have so many responsible adults who love and care for them.
And the most promising sign of all is that Shoshy has learned how to smile.