CHW Weekly Stories

Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW)

Our Daycares are Changing Lives, One Child at a Time: Maya’s Story

Maya arrived at a CHW Daycare when she was only two years old, after being referred by Welfare Services. Maya is originally from Ethiopia, and was being raised by her maternal grandmother. Her mother was suffering from severe depression, and had attempted suicide when Maya was only a few months old.

When Maya initially came to the daycare, she was a scared and shy child. Maya did not speak a word of Hebrew, and the only language that she knew was Amharic. Maya refused to let go of her grandmother, and did not want to be left alone. Initially, Maya showed no interest in playing with the other children, preferring only to sit by herself.

The caregivers tried very hard to support Maya’s needs and encourage her to play with the other children. They would spend additional one-on-one time with her, ensuring that she was eating, sleeping, and developing. However, Maya was still an unhappy child.

One special caregiver, an Ethiopian woman named Semu, decided to take Maya into her care. She spoke to Maya in her native language, combined with a few Hebrew words in an effort to teach Maya the language. After a few weeks and with a great deal of patience, Maya said her first Hebrew word, “smile.”

This, Semu shares, was the turning point for Maya. The moment Maya said her first word in Hebrew, Maya began speaking. She would combine Hebrew and Amharic when talking with the other children. Maya became more extroverted and happy, making new friends and playing while at daycare.

Maya’s grandmother is amazed by her transformation and incredibly thankful for the daycare’s unconditional support. In fact, Maya is now teaching her grandmother Hebrew in their home!

The names have been changed for anonymity.