Every summer, our Vision for Israel team works vigorously to distribute school bags to children from distressed families throughout the country, and from all sectors and communities—religious and secular, Arab and Ethiopian, new immigrants, victims of terrorism, at-risk children, asylum seekers, migrant workers, and more.
The goal has been to reach every needy child we can and to make sure they start the new school year as equals among their classmates—able to concentrate on their studies and succeed.
At the distributions, our team met families who were suffering from very difficult financial situations—parents unable to support their children due to disability, single-parent families in which the father refuses to pay alimony, and some with many children who are supported only by Social Security.
One family in particular touched our hearts at the distribution—a single mother, doing everything she can to support her son throughout the many difficulties they have in life.
Their son Gabriel* was included in the "Babysitter" program a few months after he was born, so that she could continue to work. Gabriel, who did not speak at all until the age of three, was diagnosed with autism, following a lengthy series of tests.
In January 2017, the father unexpectedly left home, taking the family savings with him. His departure was devastating for Gabriel's emotional state, not to mention the mother's.
But despite the enormous difficulty, she persevered—continuing to take care of Gabriel's special needs, and his integration into an appropriate educational setting.
More hardship struck as she was later fired from her job, and became recognized as a victim of human trafficking—she had been abducted and tortured in Sinai after fleeing her country.
She has since found a new job and is managing to keep her head above the water for the sake of her beloved son and his special needs.
And thanks to the care of his mother, with the help of a social worker, Gabriel now studies in kindergarten—where he is making solid progress. He functions better, and is very much loved by the other children and the staff.
This is one of the countless stories we hear each time we have a distribution—and one of the reasons why this project is so special to us.
The ability to give these children a chance to start the school year with a schoolbag and study equipment, just like everyone else, gives us great satisfaction—and it’s heartwarming to see the children's eyes glistening with joy, and their parents' enthusiasm for the quality and variety of the schoolbags.
The light in their eyes is indeed the fuel that motivates us to continue working—with the help of our generous donors—for all the needy in Israel.
*Name has been changed