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Israeli children near Gaza learn resilience through creativity

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Posted on: 
8 Jun 2021
Israeli children near Gaza learn resilience through creativity

Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for AID and Aliyah, just visited Israeli communities near the Gaza border to offer support and see how they are doing since the recent Gaza conflict ended.

Arriving at the Sadot Negev Resilience Center, Nicole was greeted by the center’s manager Esther Marcus, who expressed an emotional thanks from a heart overflowing with gratitude to the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem for our ongoing support.

Esther cannot recall how many times during this latest Gaza conflict that the red alert siren sounded at all hours day and night, signaling a constant barrage of missiles headed their way.

“You are saving lives and thank you for saving my life!” said Esther, as she recalled having to run to the center’s safe room built last year by the ICEJ. “People ask me all the time; do you get used to it? – I say, you never get used to someone trying to kill you, but you do learn to cope, and you build your resilience,” said Esther.

Serving the local community, the Sadot Negev Resilience Center is located within three kilometers of the Gaza border. The center was built as a place of refuge and healing for traumatized families in the community and surrounding region, and offers short-term counselling and coping strategies provided by qualified therapists. A hotline kept therapists busy round the clock while under attack, however, once the ceasefire began the Resilience Center went into high gear offering workshops for children and their parents to help them process the ordeal they had just experienced.

“Each child participates in a workshop together with their parents, where they learn different ways and techniques for coping with their anxiety around what’s going on”, Esther explained. She added that these workshops are also available for educators to enable them to work with the children when they return to school as well.

The generous response of our Christian supporters worldwide enabled the ICEJ to provide funds to the Resilience Center to assist traumatized children participating in the workshops.

“You give us the financial backing and the ability to buy tools, toys, and gifts for children, and they know that it comes from people like yourselves who are giving them a virtual hug and helping them cope. At the same time, they are also learning the importance of giving and accepting”, said Esther.

“Here in the Resilience center, you have enabled us to now help hundreds of families”, Esther told Nicole. “We are running two workshops every day, and thanks to you we have put together a special care package for our families.”

The care package contains a book which Esther wrote called The Colour Red, which is aimed at helping children understand what is going on and what action to take when the red alert siren rings out. Also included is a coloring book with colored pencils which is very therapeutic for children to absorb themselves in, as well as a stress-ball to squeeze or throw against the wall should they need to vent their frustration, other stress-relieving items, and a fun tube of bubbles to blow (helps with deep breathing and relieves stress).

“I just thank you from the bottom of my heart. We look forward to you coming and visiting and seeing that where we live is actually really beautiful”, said Esther. “And please God, one day [I pray] that there will be peace”, she added.

Please know that your generous donations have made it possible for us to assist vulnerable and traumatized communities near Gaza by providing essential safe rooms and other practical tools to cope with the trauma that comes with recurring attacks in the region. This support sends an important message to Israelis that they are not alone. This assistance especially helps strengthen those living on the front lines of battle, increasing their resilience during distressing times.

Please continue supporting the AID work of the ICEJ, which impacts at the very core of Israeli communities in need of our help.



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