Elifelet – Citizens for Refugee Children, is a volunteer-based NGO dedicated to supporting the children of asylum seekers from Africa who are living in South Tel-Aviv. Elifelet is a charitable organization that is not affiliated with any political party. Its volunteers are motivated by compassion and a sense of responsibility to provide humanitarian aid in the form of medical, emotional and educational support to the children of asylum seekers in Tel Aviv. This community of refugees includes more than 1,000 infants, children and their families living in the Shapira and Hatikva neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv. The organization provides active aid to 35 makeshift daycare centers set up by the community (sometimes dubbed “child warehouses” or “babysitters” by the Israeli media). It runs two after-school therapeutic facilities for children aged 3-10 who have been diagnosed as being particularly at-risk either developmentally, emotionally or financially.
Elifelet was founded in the Spring of 2012, following a hate crime in Tel Aviv, when 'Molotov cocktails' (glass bottles containing explosives) were thrown into a refugee daycare center at night, where 21 children were sleeping (miraculously, the infants were physically unhurt).
Immediately following the attack, we raised funds and drafted friends who volunteered to rebuild the burnt center. In the course of this effort, we realized the extent of the physical and emotional distress faced by approximately 4,500 refugee children whose parents fled Eritrea and Sudan and who are now living in South Tel Aviv under extremely difficult conditions.
With the help of about 200 volunteers and many donors, Elifelet has adopted one daycare center after another, built therapeutic afternoon clubs for older children and rescued hundreds of children from a vicious cycle of ongoing physical and emotional distress.
For its unique work, Elifelet was awarded the 2016 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic, the 2015 Israeli President's Award for Volunteerism and the 2015 Yigal Alon Award for Exemplary Pioneering Activities.