About Elifelet - Citizens for Refugee Children

Elifelet - Citizens for Refugee Children, is a registered NGO, winner of the 2016 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic for its unique activities, winner of the 2015 Israeli President's Award for Volunteerism and the 2015 Yigal Alon Award for Exemplary Pioneering Activities. The activities of the NGO are based on volunteers and all donations for the children come from citizens and are invested directly in the physical, social and educational needs of the children in the refugee community of South Tel Aviv.

Who are we?

The volunteers working at Elifelet come from all walks of life, have diverse professions (e.g., students, physicians, educators, therapists, diplomats, military personnel from Israel and abroad) and are of all ages (currently, our oldest volunteer is 80 years old).

Why do we help the Refugee Children?

The parents of these children work long hours to make ends meet and have no alternative, except to place their infants in unlicensed daycare centers, under appalling conditions. The centers, staffed by one or at most two untrained adults, take in as many as 50 children. Most do not meet basic sanitary or safety requirements. They are often located in basements or other venues that do not have so much as a window, not to mention proper ventilation or air conditioning (temperatures in Tel Aviv very frequently soar above 35°C/95°F, particularly in the summer). These centers lack the most rudimentary resources to supply the children's needs, cannot provide sufficient food let alone a balanced diet, and are unable to offer any source of enrichment or education for the children. Since 2010, 17 babies in the unlicensed centers have died of illness or neglect.

The older children, once they are able to make their way into the Israeli school system, are deficient in all aspects of their education, including linguistic (Hebrew) skills, and completely unprepared and unable to cope. Most, if not all, suffer from some form of trauma, having witnessed one form of violence or another against relatives --including torture, rape or murder-- prior to and during their flight from their home. In addition to all this, the community is subject to hate crimes by a small but extremely vocal group of residents in South Tel Aviv. Finally, the status of the community is unclear, as the government has yet to recognize them as refugees, with all the rights that this would entail under international law. Consequently, they have very few legal rights.

Elifelet’s Vision

Elifelet's vision is to save the refugee children from the cycle of suffering in which they are entrapped, by ensuring their physical and emotional well-being, advancing their development and facilitating their adjustment to the Israel school system.

To achieve these goals, volunteers at Elifelet use the analogy of constructing a raft together: the process is achieved gradually, with everybody's help, twig by twig, donation by donation, hand-in-hand. Members of the Elifelet team are building and strengthening the raft to bring the children to safer ground.

Please join our group of volunteers and help us provide assistance and support to the children we have not yet managed to reach.