The Elifelet Blanket
Elifelet creates a holistic and supportive blanket, which takes into account the set of needs of the children from morning to evening, from early childhood to the end of elementary school, in educational frameworks and at home, in order to narrow physical, emotional, and developmental gaps that are not being addressed institutionally.
Elifelet Association - Citizens for Refugee Children
P.O. 21366 Tel Aviv 6121301 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Efrat Acker | Translation: Alex Stein
With the aim of providing a secure after-school framework for children, Elifelet operates the largest after-school child care system that serves this community. The program operates at the end of the day at the elementary schools, and supplies a stable and enriching framework, full of varied informal educational activities.
The program supplies a positive alternative for parents who don’t have the ability to pay for private activities, allowing them to continue to work and to support their families in the knowledge that their children are in a safe place and are not wandering the streets. The children in grades one through three have a continuous framework from morning until the evening, while in conversation with the school staff and out of a holistic vision of both the educational and emotional needs of the children. At the after-school facilities the children receive food, private tutoring, emotional support, a place to rest and to be calm, and opportunities to enrich their world with a variety of activities – art, music, computers, sport, English and more. Alongside the after-school child care facilities this year we opened two learning centers for children from fourth to sixth grades. The centers provide a secure, supportive, empowering and enriching framework. At the centers, each child is provided with a personal program designed in partnership with the school staff. This program relates to educational, social and emotional aspects as one.
Many of the asylum-seeker children suffer from emotional and developmental problems following the difficult conditions they experienced during their early years. Alongside the education system there is a welfare and therapeutic system that helps provide treatments like psychotherapy, art therapy, movement therapy, animal therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and more to the children.
In partnership with the kindergarten teachers, school advisors, the educational psychological services and the parents, children who need treatment are identified, and they take part in private and group meetings during the school day, in an after-school child care facility and at learning centers. The treatment is provided by undergraduate and graduate students (with support and supervision), alongside experienced volunteer professionals. The therapists give the children coping tools, help with emotional regulation, as well as social and learning skills. Treatments during these early years are more effective than any treatment at an older age. The partnership with the academy also helps secure the continuity of the program to nurture a humanistic and culturally-sensitive approach among the student therapists.
Therapeutic and Welfare Program
Elifelet was established in order to provide assistance to babies and toddlers at the asylum-seeker community’s improvised day-care centers in Tel Aviv. For the last nine years we have provided them support and assistance within this framework, including volunteers, food, equipment, support and training to the staff, as well as enrichment and outdoor activities.
In September 2021, in light of the changes to the law regarding day-care centers, we were forced to end our babysitting activities in the hope that the changes in the new law would lead to all of the toddlers being integrated into the supervised frameworks that would benefit their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. To promote this, we are working with the decision-makers in the public arena in order to ensure that the unique needs of asylum-seekers are on the agenda. In parallel, we are continuing to support babies and toddlers via the municipal kindergartens through special therapeutic programs and through support and guidance work with parents.
The Humanitarian Assistance Program complements other projects, by offering food, diapers and baby formula, coordinating donations of equipment and clothing, distributing financial grants, and offering the community access to translated information. This is alongside professional volunteers who help the families deal with the health system’s complicated bureaucracy. We tailor this system to the frequently-changing needs of the community. With the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, we increased the number of supported families to 650. On regular days we provide assistance to around 55 families.