A recent report by the United Nations Agency for Children put Israel in the highest bracket for child poverty in the developed world. And the numbers don’t lie. 817,200 children live below the poverty line in Israel. That means that every day, one third of Israeli children go without adequate food, shelter, education and other basic needs we take for granted.
For as little as $3 a day you can change a young life in Israel and literally change the fortunes of entire communities.
By sponsoring a child in Israel you are providing a child, their family and their community with the essential resources to feel safe, loved and secure, giving them the opportunity to live healthy and productive lives.
So join our Sponsor a Child in Israel initiative to actively ensure a successful, strong and flourishing Israeli society for generations to come.
Meet Daniel and his dog
Meet Daniel (not his real name). Daniel’s mother is a drug addict who works as a prostitute. She has no contact with her son and her whereabouts are unknown. When Daniel was born, the Department of Social Services recommended that Daniel should be put up for adoption, but his biological father fought for the right to raise him together with his new wife.
Daniel’s father is 63 years old. Recently he has been in prison, and he suffers from a mental health disorder. He has a history of seeking out the services of prostitutes. His wife is 57 years old and she is undergoing treatment for cancer, which includes chemotherapy, which makes her very sick.
Daniel’s case was reviewed by the welfare services and Daniel was placed in WIZO’s care by court order.
When he first came to the WIZO Comprehensive Day Care Center, at the age of eighteen months, Daniel was sullen and tearful. He clung to the caregivers and refused to take part in daily activities. In the playground, he sat alone, lost in his childhood world and if one of his classmates tried to engage with him he would lash out. When the other toddlers were singing and dancing in a circle, Daniel would run to the corner, face the wall and stand rigid with his fingers in his ears.
Often, Daniel would imitate his stepmother by running to the toilet and putting his head over the bowl, as if he was going to vomit.
Patience, hugs and careful assessment by onsite child psychologists have had a positive effect on Daniel, and every step of the way, Daniel’s father and stepmother have been included and encouraged to participate in the necessary therapy to bring a smile to Daniel’s face.
His parents regularly attend parenting classes and there is a marked improvement in their handling of Daniel. Recently, they surprised him with a puppy.
Today, Daniel is a typically boisterous two-and-a-half-year-old. One caregiver described him as being ‘master of the playground’ as he lines up his friends in groups to play on the climbing frame. He is very nimble and artistic and he loves to draw pictures. He constantly talks about his new pet.
His stepmother, who is thankfully in remission, has renewed energy. She has praised the staff at the day care center for their patience and care, not just of Daniel but also of herself.
“They were there not just for Daniel, but for me too,” she said. “I cannot begin to tell you what that means to me.”
Now, when his stepmother comes to pick him up from the day care center, she brings along Daniel’s puppy and Daniel is always so excited to show off his new four-legged friend to all his daycare playmates.
(Names changed to preserve anonymity)
(Photo for illustration purposes only)
Teenager Ari (not his real name) was always a well-mannered and gentle boy. His father had died suddenly of a heart attack when he was very young. Ari’s widowed mother doted upon him. He was studious and excelled in his schoolwork.
It was only when his mother remarried that his world fell apart. He became restless and angry, and his studies suffered. When his teachers tried to engage him, he would stare out of the window careful not to look them in the eye. Soon Ari began to raise his fists to classmates. His mother was called into school many times. Ari became known as a troublemaker but one day he broke down in tears and confided in the school counsellor. Ari explained to him that he would lay in bed listening to his mother screaming, while his new stepfather lashed out at her verbally and physically. Ari went to sleep with tears in his eyes to the sound of loud thumps. The one time that he tried to come to the defence of his mother, his new stepfather pushed him out of the way, knocking him to the ground.
His school contacted the welfare services and Ari was referred to the WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim Youth Village in Haifa (sponsored by WIZO Australia).
When he first came to the youth village, Ari was very anxious, displaying the classic signs of witnessing domestic abuse; he blamed his mother, herself the victim, for his overwhelming fear, poor concentration, difficulties in coming to terms with puberty and limited social skills. Slowly but surely, he responded well to therapy from WIZO counsellors under whose care he was placed. With patient guidance from teachers and village personnel, he regained his enthusiasm for study, and he adapted well to living in the dormitory, but he worried constantly about the safety of his mother. Psychologists set to work on his anger issues that all centred around his stepfather’s behaviour towards his mother.
Ari is now popular with the other youth at the village and he has regained his smile. He regards Ahuzat Yeladim as home. His relationship with his mother, which was so fractured when the stepfather was on the scene, is becoming close once again.
Before Ari’s mother found the confidence to rid herself of her abusive husband, Ari would spend weekends and holidays at the Shabbat House at Ahuzat Yeladim, but now that she lives alone again, Ari looks forward to going home at the weekend.
At Ahuzat Yeladim, Ari is settled and content. The youth village has given him confidence and tools for a successful life. He will do well in his matriculation exams and looks forward to his army service.
To sponsor a child at a therapeutic centre for children at risk
To sponsor a teenage girl at WIZO Otzma Tze’ira – a rehabilitation program for girls at risk
To sponsor a child in the care of a WIZO Foster Family
To sponsor a teenager participating in WIZO’s Warm Home program
To sponsor a child at WIZO Ahuza Ha’ktana, a therapeutic residential treatment facility for 7-12 years
To sponsor a teenager at WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim, a therapeutic residential treatment facility for 12-18 years