Megdal Haemek, Nazareth
In spite of Israel’s high standard of living, there are certain population groups, particularly those of Arab descent, that remain vulnerable and struggle to meet their most basic needs.
SOS Children has been assisting local families in Migdal Haemek since 1997, providing support as they work to create a better future for their children.
Children of Arab and immigrant descent are most vulnerable
Located seven kilometres from Nazareth and 12 kilometres from Bethlehem, Migdal Haemek is situated in the North District of Israel and the heart of the Holy Land. It is estimated that the city’s population is close to 28,000 and almost half of these residents are foreign-born, hailing from Russia, Ethiopia, Morocco, Iraq and South America.
Migdal Haemek translates as ‘The Tower of the Valley’ and is named for its position overlooking the Jezreal Valley, the Carmel Mountains and Lower Galilee. The city is known as the Silicon Valley of Israel and is home to a number of Israeli and global high tech companies, making it a large employment centre.
In spite of this, Migdal Haemek is located in one of the poorest regions of the country, and with poverty rates at 30%, many families struggle to meet their most basic needs. The Arab population is the most disadvantaged group in Israel, and in the Northern District, Arabs make up more than 50% of all residents.
In Migdal Haemek and its surrounds, children from religious minorities or who have a refugee or immigrant background are considered most at risk. In terms of education, children of Arab origin attend a separate school system to their Jewish peers, and these schools are widely reported to be understaffed and underfunded. Drop out rates are higher among children attending these schools and they are less likely to pursue further education.
How do we help in Migdal Haemek?
SOS Social Centres work to support local families
SOS Children’s Villages has been present in Migdal Haekek since 1997, working to support vulnerable children and their families. In 2007, the SOS Social Centre opened, providing struggling parents with a safe, professional day care option for their children as they go to work or search for employment. In 2010, SOS Children opened a social centre in Qa’abiya, which offers assistance to families through its family strengthening programme and provides support in specific areas of development.
SOS Children works in co-operation with local authorities and community leaders to organise day and after school care for children living in poverty or considered ‘at-risk’.
Caring family homes
Several SOS homes provide a loving environment for over 150 vulnerable children who can no longer be cared for by their families. Our SOS families provide children with the experience growing up in a family with siblings and an affectionate SOS Mother.
Often, children who become part of our SOS families have been through trauma and difficulties. SOS Children provides counselling and psychological support as well as activities designed to nurture creative and social skills, including therapeutic horse riding, music, arts, theatre and sports. SOS children have the opportunity to cultivate valuable life skills through tuition, photography, computer and English lessons and workshops on topics including health and sexuality.
Our youngest SOS children attend local nurseries with children from families living in the surrounding areas. This allows the children to form friendships in a happy and safe place and integrate into their community from an early age.
The SOS Youth Programme supports young people when they are ready to move out of the family home. They are able to continue their education or vocational training in a semi-independent living environment, under the guidance of a professional counsellor. Our young adults maintain close contact with their SOS Mother and siblings and are supported as they make the transition to adulthood.
Children from vulnerable groups in Israel need our support. Let us show each child that they are cared for, and that they deserve the best start in life. Sponsor a child today.