Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW)
Ensuring children receive love and care is an undertaking that CHW is proud to be a part of.
There is so much that we know about childhood development, and yet, there continues to be a great deal that requires more research and understanding. One area that is critical to a child’s well-being and growth is the relationships that they develop from an early age with their primary caregivers, which are often their mothers.
This important connection was recently illustrated in a powerful video where children were tasked with guessing who their mothers were solely based on touch. The results were remarkable and extremely moving: both for the mothers and the audience. What was demonstrated was the strong bond that a child creates with his or her mother.
CHW provides this level of care through many of our projects; from our six daycare centres throughout Israel, to our two youth villages, CHW Hadassim and Nahalal, which take in at-risk youth, or through CHW Netanya Technological High School, which caters to children who face overwhelming difficulties and struggles in their day-to-day livse.
There is so much to take away from this video. One critical message is that love is not communicated in a singular language: it is something that we all feel and need for our survival.
Miriam’s Story – “The shelter saved my life.”
Domestic violence is an issue that continues to plague Israeli society. What makes this even more severe is the reality that the majority of female victims of domestic violence do not come forward, so they suffer in silence.
CHW, in its collaboration with World WIZO, helps to support shelters for victims of domestic violence, specifically for women and their children who have escaped a violent and dangerous home.
*Miriam and her four children turned to the shelter in their time of need; they are examples of the lives CHW helped to save through its support of shelters in Israel.
Miriam is 31 years old. She was happily married with a beautiful, growing, family; she had it all. However, during Miriam’s fourth pregnancy, her husband became increasingly violent; at one point hitting her in the stomach. When Miriam’s husband turned his violence towards their children, she knew she had to leave.
Initially, Miriam and her children went to her parent’s home for security. However, realizing that they were not safe there, Miriam sought refuge at a WIZO shelter.
The shelter gave Miriam the support and assistance that she was in dire need of. With the guidance and assistance from the dedicated staff, Miriam regained her confidence and sense of self-worth. Miriam took classes on how to become an independent parent. The social workers and psychologists helped Miriam to overcome her immense feelings of guilt for having exposed her children and unborn baby to such violence.
While Miriam was receiving this help, her children were being well looked after. Miriam could rebuild herself and her life while resting assured that her children were in a safe and positive environment.
Moreover, Miriam took part in group therapy at the shelter. This type of therapy helped Miriam to realize that she was not alone and other women, just like her, had gone through similar abuse.
Miriam shares, “The shelter helped me to regain my life in every aspect, I could finally breathe again.”
Today, Miriam has reclaimed her life. She has a secure job that allows her to be self-sufficient, provide for her children, and live a safe and happy life. Miriam is one of thousands of women whose lives have been saved by a CHW supported WIZO shelter. Stories like Miriam’s are what reinforce why we need to continue to support these projects.
*Miriam’s name has been changed for confidentiality purposes.
Photo: Anton Petukhov
One year ago, a six-year-old girl named Aya Salef from Ramallah became extremely ill after accidentally drinking a poisonous acid that she found in her home. Aya was rushed to the emergency room at a hospital in Ramallah to be treated, however, the doctors believed that there was little that could be done to return little Aya to good health.
After undergoing 12 surgeries, Aya was still only able to eat through a tube. Mustafa, Aya’s father, knew that there was no way he could let his daughter live a life in this kind of condition. Mustafa recalls, “Aya would look at the other children playing and eating normally; and sadness would come over her. Aya could not eat solid foods due to the damage she had done to her stomach after drinking the poison.” It was at this time that Mustafa brought Aya to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center for help.
Dr. Gad Lotan, the Head of the Pediatric Department at Assaf Harofeh, treated Aya and shared:
“I and team of doctors worked to find a solution for Aya. We realized that we could move the stomach higher, to the chest, away from the thorax; allowing Aya to eat solid foods again.”
Dr. Lotan explained that this was a very intense procedure, and would require an extensive amount of recovery; they decided to go through with it. After a year at Assaf Harofeh, and a very challenging recovery process, Aya was finally released from the hospital and allowed to return home. Aya is now a healthy seven year old that is able to eat solid foods, play with other children, enjoy her childhood, and have the chance to grow into a healthy and capable young woman.
Mustafa recalls that leaving the Palestinian governed territory and arriving into Israel was life changing for him and his family. He was welcomed at Assaf Harofeh and felt that his daughter received the best healthcare one could find. He says of the experience:
“Thank you Assaf Harofeh for giving my little girl her life back. You saved my family.”
CHW Netanya Technological High School is there for children in need of a supportive learning environment; taking in children from the lowest socio-economic backgrounds and gives them hope for a brighter future.
Through CHW’s support and the support from our generous donors, we make a continuous difference in the lives of children at CHW Netanya. This story is about a student named Matan.
Matan was a student who never wanted to go to school; he felt that no one understood him and his struggle to learn. After being kicked out of another school, Matan’s mother approached CHW Netanya Technological High School for help.
Very quickly, Matan went from an unhappy boy with little ambition to one who was always smiling and dreaming of one day owning his own bakery.
As a student from the Patisserie Program, Matan has worked on perfecting his skills and techniques. At a recent event at CHW Netanya, Matan, along with his peers, were tasked with showing off what they had learned over the course of the semester. Seen at the event was Matan’s mother, who proudly boasted and gushed about her son, meanwhile expressing her gratitude toward CHW.
Matan’s story is one of many. Daily, CHW is touching the lives of children in need. With our continued support, we can ensure that children like Matan are given a second chance at a promising future.
CHW, in conjunction with World WIZO, supports various programs that aim to advance of the status of women in society. Programs of this nature have a tremendous impact on the lives of the women who participate in them.
One program in particular is the Women’s Leadership Course, which focuses on instilling leadership skills, strengthening gender awareness, imparting practial tools, and introducing women to female trailblazers as a means of inspiring them to embark on their own social initiatives.
Marisa is a graduate of the Women’s Leadeship Course who, through the skills gained in the program, was able to spearhead a project that is making waves across Israel.
Marisa always wanted to make a positive contribution to society and help women in need. Working as a doula, Marisa discovered that many women who came from small villages or African countries were ill-prepared for childbirth.
Marisa wanted to reach out to help these communities, however, she did not know how to do so. Marisa learned about the Women’s Leadership Course and decided to enroll in order to gain the tools and guidance that she felt were lacking.
The skills that Marisa gained in this program gave her the confidence and abilities to begin a pregnancy coaching program that specifically assisted new Ethiopian immigrants in the preparation and birthing process.
Marisa shared her sentiments that, “a good birth is a good both for the mother and the baby. My goal is to empower these women.” Through Marisa’s initiative, she has helped many women become informed and feel at ease during this overwhelming time of their lives.
The Women’s Leadership Course not only impacts women like Marisa, but it also creates a ripple effect of change.