Operating on all the fronts to promote the reintegration of at-risk youth, the FSJU supports the Hadera children’s village of the association “Talpiot Community for its children” Here is a snapshot of this community that is so different from others:
They arrive from the entire southern region. They can be 5, 12 or 15 years old, alone or with a sibling. Their life is already filled with secrets, heartbreak and problems that most children of their age have never known.
Sent by the social services or placed by the courts but always with the agreement of their parents that cannot raise them or abused, assaulted or neglected them, these kids are going to relearn to live the life that they deserve.
Created in 1952 in Jerusalem, the first Talpiot village opened its doors to welcome and help children were born during the Holocaust and arrived in mass in Israel.
Having attained the expertise, Talpiot has opened villages throughout the country, contributing by changing the fate of youth destined to a precarious future.
In Hadera, each year, 200 children from the age of 5 to 18 benefit from training, appropriate therapies, social and academic support and extracurricular activities.
“The children join one of the two frameworks, as applicable,” explains Laurence Pons, director of the European fund-raising branch for 9 years.
“Certain children are picked up after school. We provide them with a hot meal, a tutoring session, an extracurricular activity (music, art-therapy, sport, etc.) and supper. They are then taken back to their parents because the social services have judged that the original family home was fit to receive them. The other children live with professional host families residing in the village. These children from toxic homes can thus flourish in frameworks that allow them to discover a balanced and healthy family life.” This special expertise developed by Talpiot has earned the association several prizes. According to Itsik Gershom, the deputy director of Talpiot, “the global objective of the village is above all to allow the children to return their original homes under normal conditions. To achieve this requires that therapeutic, social and psychological assistance are made available to the family. Parents are not born with instruction manuals. Some grasp the concepts while others need to be helped. That is what we do in emphasizing the link between parents and children. Thanks to the number of teams in place and the individualized attention provided to each family, this link is reinforced and sometimes even mended….”
While Talpiot, truly a public welfare project, is supported by the Israeli Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services, it still is underfunded. Most of the grants are used for food, the teams that support the children and the therapists. By contrast, maintenance of building can be postponed. Thus, structures have become noticeably obsolete over time. As for the furniture, “The beds on which the children sleep are blocks of cement covered by thin mattresses. At the time, that was normal. Today, you don’t see that even in prison!” notes Itsik Gershom.
The Social Fund could not ignore that situation. “We decided to finance the renovation of the furniture in the Talpiot Children’s Village,” explains Myriam Fedida, director of FSJU Israel. When children develop and grow in an environment that is broken, damaged and outdated, how can you ask them to take of their room, their own or of others? For children removed from their family, a nice room is a source of warmth and hope, indirectly feeding them. They can imagine a better world, which is exactly our mission: to fight exclusion and restore hope to those whom life has left behind.”