Funding Project: Summer Camp
Summer vacation time in Israel raises various dangers for the foreign community’s children, with overcrowding at the unregistered and unsupervised daycare facilities (two deaths occurred in such facilities during the summer of 2016), children roaming the streets unattended, children locked in at home as a means of protection, and occurrences of dehydration. To overcome this, Mesila operates an annual summer camp for the community’s children with a variety of activities including arts and crafts, sports and visits to the safari and a kibbutz. Daily transportation is provided for children living far away from the camp ground. The number of children attending the camp has increased from 100 in 2014 to 170 in 2015 to 200 in 2016. Alongside the summer camp we operate daily outings for toddlers ages 0-3 staying at the pirate daycares. During spring and summer they have field trips to parks, zoos and local community gardens, as well as arts and crafts afternoon sessions and ice cream truck visits. However, the Mesila spring and summer activities do not have a permanent venue or ongoing financial support, and we fundraise from different sources each year in order to maintain them, with no guarantee that they would be financed again.
MESILA provides services to the foreign community in Tel Aviv, particularly its children, whose lives are often marked by extreme poverty, a lack of basic rights, and emotional and physical insecurity. Since its establishment in 1999, MESILA has grown to a staff of 30 social workers and therapists who work to provide assistance, counseling, and advocacy and mediation services, to refugees, migrant workers and asylum seekers. MESILA’s staff partners with the parents and communities of at-risk children in order to provide services such as: Personal assistance like counseling, mediation, and therapy
Communal assistance through identification and addressment of social issues, and leadership development
Advocacy that influences national policy decisions that affect the foreign community
Reception and Intake: MESILA holds reception hours four days a week, during which the staff meets with members of the foreign community and assists them in obtaining medical, welfare, educational, municipal services, and more. Through these hours, as well as advanced services like couples therapy, women’s health services, school enrolment assistance, and more, MESILA maintains daily contact with the community and recognizes its changing needs.
Children At Risk: A team of expert social workers on MESILA’s Youth Staff work with 650 at-risk children, who often experience poverty, parental absence, and physical and sexual abuse, in an effort to stabilize and improve their lives at home. MESILA’s staff receive information about at-risk youth from Israeli institutions such as schools and police, as well as extensive networks in the foreign community, and they run preventative programs, after-school integration programs, and group therapy sessions. In extreme cases, members of the Youth Staff partner with welfare services to transfer children to safer environments. MESILA also supports children in the community with specials needs who do not receive adequate support, medical care, and social services because of their undocumented status.
The Babysitters – Pirate Daycare: Women in the foreign community work at jobs with long hours, and face difficulties in raising children without the support of their network of family and friends. Because of this, “babysitter” facilities, which are illegal, unsafe, and understaffed day care institutions run by women with no childcare training, have become an unfortunate norm in the foreign community. Children in these facilities often spend days sitting idly in cribs and, tragically, several infants have died at these daycares in the last few years as a result of the extreme conditions. MESILA has invested a great deal of effort and resources in trying to improve conditions at the babysitters' daycares: Responding to crisis situations and emergencies in the Babysitters; Facilitating pedagogical training workshops; Forming personalized recovery plans with the babysitters; Improving physical conditions in the daycares; Integrating volunteers; developing alternative frameworks and encouraging parents to register their children to the municipal kindergartens
Center for Victims of Trafficking: MESILA has a center to help the hundreds of men and women who were kidnapped by Bedouins in the Sinai Peninsula before arriving in Israel in order to address the intense trauma they experienced.
Community Work: In response to the foreign community’s self-articulated needs, MESILA partners with community leaders in order to cultivate a number of community organizations such as afterschool programs for children, groups focusing on women’s empowerment before and after birth, summer camps, and parent groups.
For more information, please contact:
Our Website: www.theinvisiblekids.org
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