Israel is in many ways a Western country. The average standard of living is high; however some sectors of the population still struggle to meet their most basic needs. Thanks to the activities of SOS Children's Villages in Israel, families are offered a chance to succeed.
Israel's North District is one of the poorest in the country
Children who have lost parental care can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages (photo: SOS archives)
Migdal HaEmek is a city of approximately 28,000 inhabitants in the North District of Israel, around a half an hour’s drive from the Sea of Galilee.
In Israel, most of the wealth is concentrated in the country's centre. Over the past few decades, the periphery has seen a drastic decline in social and economic conditions. The North District is one of the poorest regions in the country, and there are a number of vulnerable population groups in the region. In recent years, and in spite of many efforts, there has been a growth in poverty.
It is often difficult for families from these communities to break the cycle of poverty. Single-parent families and those with three or more children are particularly at risk, and many are unable to ensure that the children's most basic needs are met.
Near Migdal HaEmek, there are many Bedouin communities. The Bedouins are semi-nomadic, pastoral tribes who have lived in the region for centuries. Today in Northern Israel they have settled in villages. They are traditionally a socially and economically disadvantaged community.
Holistic support for vulnerable children
SOS Children’s Villages began its work in Migdal Haemek in 1997 with the establishment of Migdal Haemek Village (previously known as Megadim Village). Working with the Ministry of Welfare, Migdal Haemek offers a home to children who are not able to live with their biological families. Many of the children have, in their short lives, already experienced serious trauma or have not attended school regularly. A unique individual development plan is designed for each child to ensure that they have the chance to receive an education and grow up into healthy and strong adults. We make sure all their needs are attended to, for example by providing psychological care, therapeutic horseback riding, as well as extra tuition for those struggling at school. We want to further the children’s creative, social and educational skills, and we offer a range of activities at the children’s village, including photography classes, football, computer classes, a drama group and workshops on various topics such as health and sexuality.
What we do in Migdal HaEmek
Children in our care bonding during a day-trip (photo: SOS archives)
Care in families: Children from the region who are no longer able to live with their parents can find a loving home in one of nine SOS families at the SOS Children’s Village. In each family, the children live with their brothers and sisters, affectionately cared for by their SOS mother.
Education: The children attend the local schools together with children from the neighbourhood, ensuring that they make friends and are integrated into the community from a young age.
Support for young people: When young people in our care turn 18 or when they finish high school, the SOS Youth Programme continues to support them as they make the transition into independent adulthood. The young adults often maintain close contact with their SOS mother and siblings.
Supporting the local community: In addition, we have recently opened six day-care and after-school centres for children from the Bedouin communities surrounding Migdal HaEmek. The children are offered activities, clubs, tutoring, and therapy sessions.