By: Laurina Driesse

Who will care for the vulnerable little ones?

When the Christian Embassy learned about the huge need of orphaned children in Israel, there was no turning a blind eye. Instead, steps were immediately taken to see how we can help meet the needs of youngsters suffering abuse and neglect who are referred to children’s homes.

“The orphaned or virtually orphaned children living in therapeutic Family Group Homes represent the most vulnerable children. These children are classified as orphans, if they have no living parent, or if they have no other feasible biological support system, even if they have one living parent”, explained Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President of AID and Aliyah.

A Family Group Home is a haven for children when neglect and abuse dominate their little world by the very people who they are supposed to trust. The love and care these helpless children begin to receive from their new house mothers is immeasurable. However, extras are needed to help the children flourish.

“In Israel, in addition to each child’s normal living expenses in a home, only 12% of costs to provide the extra items for the children are covered by the state. These extra items include such essentials as personal hygiene products, educational supplies, clothing, and equipment for extracurricular activities and everyday living. This is where the ICEJ, together with support from our faithful donors, can really make an impact in each vulnerable orphaned child’s life”, stated Nicole.

At the tender age of 8-years-old *Tzofia was rescued from her dire situation and placed in a therapeutic Family Group Home with 10 other children. She has never met her father and watched as her mother fell into the downward spiral of an opioid addiction. With Israeli schools being closed during the Covid pandemic and her mother’s addiction growing worse, Tzofia was left to fend and care for herself, away from any witnesses to her home situation.

One day she visited her local neighborhood market with noticeable burns on her forearm. She revealed that she was boiling water to cook spaghetti for herself, as she had not seen her mother for two full days. This sounded alarm bells and Tzofia was immediately taken to an emergency shelter and from there referred to a children’s home. She is now receiving the emotional care that she deserves, and her basic material needs are being met.

Meanwhile, 9-year-old *Rinat also has never met her father and came to the children’s home after enduring years of neglect from her mother, who is suffering from mental health issues. Sadly, her mother does not want any contact with her.

When Rinat arrived at the home, her only comfort was her dirty clothes which she wore for several days, without bathing. She was not comfortable with washing her clothes at all. The house mother discovered that the little clothing Rinat possessed was stained, had holes, and were two sizes too small! Looking at the budget, the house mother took Rinat shopping and advised how much they could spend on new clothes for her. Happily, her house mother assisted with picking out clothes appropriate for Rinat’s age. However, once back at the home, Rinat again did not want anyone to wash her clothes, for fear that they would be damaged or stolen. Thankfully, with consistent reassurance, Rinat began allowing her garments to be washed. Rinat has settled nicely and her whole demeanor has improved.

It is so essential that these orphaned and ‘virtually orphaned’ children do not suffer further rejection by not having the correct educational supplies or extramural equipment, clothing, and footwear, or feel left out when other children receive gifts from extended family members.

Please consider supporting the ICEJ’s giving ‘a Future and a Hope’ campaign. The cost for supporting each child is approximately $650 (USD) per year, depending on their needs. However, any amount that you choose to give enables us to care for these most vulnerable and broken children, by ensuring they have everything they need as if they were part of a warm caring family environment.

* Names have been changed to protect privacy.