CHW Weekly Stories

Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW)

Hugs for Rosa

Story from World WIZO, The WIZO Impact, Issue No. 6 (minor changes made by CHW)

*Name Changed for Confidentiality

It is 7:00am on a spring Sunday morning in Tel Aviv and *Rosa can hardly wait to be unbuckled from her buggy to be swept up into the arms of the metapelet (caregiver) in a warm hug at the WIZO Daycare she attends.

Over the weekend, Rosa has missed the closeness of her warm and welcoming caregivers. She has missed climbing upon the knee of the nursery assistants and playing closely with her little friends. Over the weekend, Rosa had sat alone, mostly watching TV. Sometimes, she looked out of the window and saw other children and their parents playing in the park, but Rosa’s mother did not approve of that.

It was only at the daycare that Rosa could be totally at ease sitting on the floor, picking up her toys and playing with the puzzles because no one there insisted on wearing plastic gloves when they picked her up or took her by the hand. And as a two-year-old toddler, Rosa was entitled to be messy and she needed to touch.

But home is fraught for Rosa. Despite the pleas from her husband, Rosa’s mother refuses to get treatment for her obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which has had an adverse effect on her daughter’s well being. Rosa’s mother will not hug her daughter for fear of germs, nor will she brush Rosa’s beautiful blond hair because she says she ‘might catch something’. She insists on covering the handles of the buggy with plastic bags and she pushes her daughter away when she tries to hold her hand.

Rosa’s mother cannot bring herself to have any close physical contact with Rosa. Typically, her OCD manifests itself as a fear of contamination by dirt and a compulsion for extreme order and tidiness. One time, Rosa arrived at the daycare with red, sore hands when her mother had scrubbed them too vigorously to ‘get rid of all the germs’ after Rosa had stroked the neighbor’s dog. Rosa’s mother often sends Rosa to the daycare wearing dirty clothes, as she believes there are also germs lurking in the washing machine.

Away from the daycare, Rosa’s father is the only stabilizing factor in the little girl’s life and he works closely with the social workers and support staff at the daycare but his work requires him to often spend time abroad. Sigal, the WIZO social worker, explains: “I always know when Rosa’s father is away, because we see a regression in Rosa’s responses and behavior. I am in close contact with her mother, I invite her to therapy sessions, and she is always happy to comply. I bring her into my office with Rosa and talk to her while Rosa plays with the toys on the floor and we chat, completely at ease. It is important that Rosa’s mother sees that it doesn’t bother anybody for Rosa to roll around on the floor and pick up toys from the floor. There have been breakthroughs. Rosa’s mother has opened up to me. She admits she has a problem and she wants to make life easier for her daughter. In fact, we have seen a great improvement since Rosa first came to the daycare just one and a half years ago. She was such a closed, introverted baby, so unused to physical contact. We have shown her that it is natural to touch, to hug and to share. She responds so well now.”

Rosa attends the daycare from seven in the morning until seven in the evening. She receives all the basic physical, emotional and developmental needs as well as nutritious home-cooked meals. Her parents are grateful to the daycare staff for their professional and holistic care of their daughter. They have benefitted greatly through therapy and parenting courses. Rosa’s mother had suffered post natal depression soon after Rosa’s birth, which resulted in her OCD. She says she does not know what she would do if it were not for the love and support of the WIZO staff. “I do try but I find it so difficult to respond in the way that Rosa needs me to. My heart breaks when she puts her arms up for a hug and I can’t give it. I want to but then my OCD takes over and I just cannot bear to touch her.” Rosa’s mother confided. “One day, I know I will but for now, I can only thank WIZO for providing my beautiful daughter with the hugs and love she so deserves.”

Cannonball

Story taken from THE WIZO IMPACT (removed some details to make suitable for CHW)

 

From the moment he was born, Tal* suffered the agony of narcotic withdrawal. His mother had used Heroin all through her pregnancy and Tal displayed classic signs of NAD (narcotic abstinence syndrome). His symptoms included tremors, poor feeding, breathing issues, irritability, fever, low muscle tone, and stiffness.

At the age of four months, Tal was referred by the welfare authorities to a WIZO Daycare. He had severe mental and motor development issues. Tal was a very sad baby. In the early days in WIZO’s care, Tal would lay rigid in his cot with a pained expression. Tears ran down his cheeks and yet he barely had the strength to cry. Unlike the other babies, he did not kick his legs or arms. He did not respond to heat, cold or hunger and no matter how much the caregivers tried to raise a smile from him none was forthcoming, and as the other babies began to sit up, and to crawl, Tal lay still. The daycare director, Maya*, nursed Tal and he began to eat. She spoke softly to him, and carried him around the nursery pointing out everything in an attempt to coax a reaction. She said that he was just like a rag doll in her arms. Maya explained: “Tal required a comprehensive treatment regime to stimulate his cognitive and motor senses. It is between the ages of four months to twelve months that mental and motor-sensory deficiencies surface and this is the time when treatment becomes crucial. We worked tirelessly, together with therapists, to stimulate movement and strengthen his flaccid muscles and bouts of limb stiffness. You would always find me sitting in my office massaging his little arms and legs while doing other jobs. Tal taught me to multi-task!

Eventually, the weak and fretful baby began to put weight on. He started to respond to treatment and caught up with many of the other babies. The perseverance of the day care staff paid off. When Tal took his first steps, the entire daycare erupted in applause. Tal’s grandmother who looks after him witnessed that memorable event. “When he toddled towards me, with a big smile on his face, it was the happiest day of my life. I have endured so much heartache with my daughter in and out of rehab, I volunteer at the daycare, helping to feed the babies at meal times. It keeps me from thinking about my own problems, and now, for the first time, I can see that Tal has a chance to look forward to a happy and healthy future. I have WIZO to thank for that,” Said Tal’s grandmother.

Caregiver, Sigal, added, “Oh but you should see him now! We call him ‘Tal hatotach’ (Tal the cannonball). He never sits still; he is full of energy. He is such a bright, inquisitive child.” Maya adds, “I am often asked if it is difficult to work in a daycare where the needs of the local population are so great. It is true to say that we fight a battle for the children in our care on a daily basis but I would not have it any other way. Seeing Tal, and the other little children like him running around the playground laughing and smiling makes it all worthwhile.”

Tal is not the only baby at a WIZO Daycare whose earliest years have been blighted by circumstances and the life choices forced upon them by their parents. He is one of many who have been referred by the welfare services. “We don’t differentiate,” said Maya, “It doesn’t matter how difficult their backgrounds are. What matters to us is that these children get the same start in life as every other child so that they are equipped to face whatever the future holds. Life is not easy but why should they suffer? In our care, they thrive, they get home cooked nutritious meals, they play, they learn and they are safe. They get remedial treatments when needed and of course all the love and hugs that every child deserves.”

*Names changed for confidentiality

Link to original article: https://www.facebook.com/notes/the-wizo-impact/cannonball-tal/1947996578814322/

President’s Award of Excellence

Annually, the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, honours soldiers and officers with the highly esteemed President’s Award of Excellence that awards soldiers for their devotion to duty and professionalism.  

President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, at the Awards Ceremony

120 recipients were recognized; among them were three graduates from the dormitories of CHW Hadsssim Children and Youth Village: Paulina Rodkovsky, Dan Golan, and David Svilder.

Paulina Rodkovsky

Paulina grew up in the dormitories at CHW Hadassim. While Paulina was born without her right arm, she always sought to have a typical life like her peers. At CHW Hadassim, she was always encouraged to pursue her dreams and overcome any challenges that would come her way. Paulina fought to join a prestigious unit in the IDF and wanted to serve the same service as her fellow citizens in spite of her physical disabilities. Today, Paulina serves in an elite unit and has received the highest honour from President Rivlin.

Dan Golan

Dan received this award for the second consecutive year. Dan’s mother passed away when he was a little boy and he spent the early years of his childhood living in Be’er Sheva with his father, sister, and grandmother. His home environment was very difficult and so when Dan was eight years old, he arrived to CHW Hadassim. He first lived in the Family Unit and then in the dormitories. Dan shares, “CHW Hadassim made me the person I am today. I am a leader, I possess initiative, I am responsible, and this is all thanks to CHW Hadassim.” Today, Dan is part of the Israeli Northern Command. Dan shared, “Receiving the award was an honour and emotional; it was seeing all my hard work come to life.”

David Svilder

David is a Captain in the Golani Brigade. David arrived to CHW Hadassim without parents and in need of a loving home. Here, at CHW Hadassim he grew into a happy and confident young man. David knew he wanted to give back to his country and fought to join the Golani Brigade.  

This is an exceptional achievement for each of these soldiers, CHW Hadassim, and Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW). Through your support, you nurtured these children at CHW Hadassim and helped to create the next generation of leaders who will contribute positively to the State of Israel. 

The Students of CHW Hadassim and CHW Nahalal Have Graduated!

Mazel Tov to our remarkable children from both CHW Hadassim Children and Youth Village and CHW Nahalal Youth Village who recently graduated!

This past week, both youth villages hosted graduation ceremonies for the grade 12 students.

Ze’ev Twito, Director of CHW Hadassim

Dr. Carmela Dekel, Chairperson of the Education Division, World WIZO.

At CHW Hadassim, 366 students graduated. As a result of your generous support, 63 students from the dormitories graduated.

Amongst the graduates, two arrived to CHW Hadassim when they were as young as seven years old, and CHW Hadassim is truly their home. David* and Mia* shared that their childhood and adolescence was spent at CHW Hadassim. Mia shared that “This is the most meaningful time of my life; I was always loved and cared for.”

Na’aleh Graduates!

This was an extra special ceremony, as it was the first group of graduates from our beloved Na’aleh Program. Gad is one of the graduates.

Gad, a Na’aleh student

 

Gad arrived to CHW Hadassim three years ago when he was 15 years old. Gad recalls that during his first year, he was such an angry boy and very closed off. He had experienced anti-Semitism in France and never fit in at school. However, as Gad shares, “CHW Hadassim changed my life.” He turned from a negative child into a positive young man with hopes and dreams. Gads’ grades improved greatly from the time he arrived to CHW Hadassim; finding a passion for math and learning Hebrew. Gad has decided that Israel is his home and will spend next year volunteering before he enlists in the IDF to serve his country. Gad expressed, “The people at CHW Hadassim, my peers and the staff were such a wonderful influence on me and helped to make me who I am today. Thank you.”

Professor Rivka Lazovsky, with CHW Nahalal graduates!

Professor Rivka Lazovsky, with CHW Nahalal graduates!

At CHW Nahalal, Professor Rivka Lazovsky attended the ceremony that honoured 252 graduating students. This was a special ceremony as it also paid tribute David Horesh, Director of the youth village, who is retiring after over 20 years of dedication to CHW Nahalal.

David Horesh, Director of CHW Nahalal with Professor Rivka Lazovsky

Igal Dekel, CEO, World WIZO with David Horesh and Professor Rivak Lazovsky, as they award David for his dedication to CHW Nahalal.

*Names changed for confidentiality

Visit www.chw.ca/annualcampaign to support these and other projects that support children, healthcare, and women in Israel and Canada today!

Helping Families in Need

*Noam is a happy little boy with a positive disposition, and always manages to put a smile on people’s faces. Since he was six months old, Noam has attended the same CHW daycare. When Noam was two years old, he sprang into daycare one morning and announced that he was going to be a big brother!

Sadly, months later, Noam’s mother gave birth to a stillborn. One year later, Noam’s mother gave birth to a baby girl with Down Syndrome. The little girl’s condition was very severe and required her to attend a specialized daycare that could best care for her needs.

Noam took this very hard. At his young age, he could not comprehend why his baby sister could not come to daycare with him. Noam struggled to understand why his sister was different. Noam shared that he wanted her with him so that he could ‘watch over her’ as her proud big brother.

The manager of the daycare saw a major change in Noam and was concerned for his well being. Noam had retreated from his friends, he became antisocial, he no longer smiled and played, and there were noticeable changes in his development.

As the daycare offers specialized home services, the manager approached Noam’s parents in order to provide them with the right tools to help their son. Noam’s parents agreed that they were struggling coping with their new situation. The daycare brought in a psychologist and social worker to help Noam during the day and also to counsel his parents in order to have the right skills to assist Noam while at home.

After a few weeks, Noam’s parents, the manager, and the caregivers began to see positive changes in Noam as he was slowly returning to his old ways. Noam slowly began to reengage with his friends and regain his cheerfulness.

At the age of three, Noam left the daycare to enter kindergarten. Noam left as a happy and well-adjusted little boy. One year later, Noam’s mother returned to the daycare as she had given birth to her third child, a healthy baby girl and wanted to enroll her in the same daycare Noam had attended as she knew she would receive the best level of care.

Noam’s mother shares that she and her family will never forget the special care and attention they received from the daycare during their challenging time. To them, the daycare is an extension of their own family.

*Name changed for confidentially