#LivingIt - JDC Update: Day 29

Center For Independent Living- Be'er Sheva

Since the outbreak of Operation Protective Edge, the Centers for Independent Living (CIL) has shifted its daily focus to helping people with disabilities properly deal and cope with the ongoing attacks from Gaza.  The following story describes the experience of three siblings with disabilities who received support through the CIL:

Three siblings with disabilities – Hefzi and her two brothers – live in subsidized housing in Be’er Sheva that is extremely vulnerable to rocket attacks and not within reach of a public bomb shelter. When sirens blare, the family remains together in their living room, unprotected. The roof, made from asbestos, a carcinogenic material, is in poor condition and is very weak: shrapnel from an incoming rocket nearby could cause serious damage to the home. 


The siblings turned to the Center for Independent Living for help. The emergency coordinator, together with local volunteers, assessed the family’s situation and the risks they were facing. And the CIL, through ongoing communication with the family, helped Hefzi and her brothers make adjustments within their home and to their routine to minimize the danger and help ensure their continued safety and independence.


JDC Sponsored Respites to Tiberias:

During the ongoing conflict, families living in Israel’s South have had to cope with the day-to-day realities of war. With the conflict reaching into its fourth week, some have not been able to enjoy a single moment of relaxation. It is important that these families have the opportunity to get away and experience life without sirens again.

26 families from a JDC-Better Together neighborhood in Kiryat Gat were able to enjoy a relaxing respite for three days in Tiberias, thanks to support from JFNA.  As one of the four holy cities in Israel, they visited the graves of righteous holy people, were given free admission to a fun water park, and enjoyed many other activities. They said it was a dream getaway and the best part was being far from the all too familiar sirens and booms.

The community members really came together during the trip to help-out the single mothers and families with small children to make sure everyone was included and having a fun and relaxing experience. One mom from the community really stepped up, helping organize the bus and rooms for the trip. It was great to have a community member take on such responsibility. She worked wonderfully and was able to solve any issue that came up.

The families appreciated the respite so much that some even wrote thank you notes to express their gratitude. One family described the retreat as “a great experience where we discovered the togetherness of our family,” while another mother was thankful for the “substantial contribution, understanding, and caring for our children.”