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Al-Baqour Association Special Activities and Assistance to Mothers and Children During Israel-Hamas war (Haravot Barzel)

Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war (Haravot Barzel), the Al-Baqour association has mobilized to help the Bedouin community that has suffered heavy barrages, dozens of dead and wounded (many of them during rescue operations in the area), some of them children. The vast majority of the residents still have no shelter from the rockets, as many live in tents and makeshift buildings lacking even minimal protection. Quite a few families have been left without a roof over their heads. The residents have been experiencing severe anxiety and lack the tools to cope with the impossible situation.

The association sprang into action to organize to provide immediate assistance to mothers through psychological support, relief and welfare activities – by using professional personnel, purchasing of play equipment and books for children, and by widening the scope of our activity on digital networks.

The association’s infrastructure – the professional workforce and the digital platforms – built during its existence allowed us to immediately take activities to the field.

Main Goals

  • Among the staff – create the ability to respond competently during times of emergency
  • Community resilience-building activities for children and mothers
  • Relief activities for children in the home setting
  • Building resilience among children through kindergartens

During the fighting, the association began a new set of activities, based in part on our existing platforms, in order to respond to the needs of the children, parents and the education system.

The association’s staff – instructors, coordinators and mothers from the “Mothers Guiding Mothers” program went through a series of meetings with experts from the mental health field on resilience, dealing with emergency situations and mediating the situation for young children. In addition, the workers received training on how to create quality time with the children and deal with the complexity of the situation through joint play.

Activities by the association’s instructors for the general public (mothers)

  • Storytime hours through Zoom. Building a weekly program with activities suitable for children. 14 zoom sessions were held in which about 700 children participated.
  • Since many of the children do not even routinely attend educational institutions, this guidance is also important regardless of the emergency situation.
  • Story hours for children and educational staff in 6 special education kindergartens. Held at “Eshkolot” kindergartens in Rahat. 30 children on the autistic continuum aged 3-5 participated in the activity.
  • Story hours for children and educational staff in 6 kindergartens in Lakiya. Each child received the story at home with written instructions for creating quality time at home and strengthening the bond between mother and child. A total of about 180 children participated.
  • Groups to empower women in dealing with situations of stress and anxiety, building resilience in mothers and children. Due to the war, a total of 15 mothers and 20 children arrived for story time hours and activities.
  • Purchase of early childhood educational equipment, toys and books for families in the area at a cost of about NIS 60,000 to create quality time – away from the news – by donating and handing out craft kits to around 500 families in the unrecognized villages; this in cooperation with Neve Midbar Community Center and Joint-Ashalim.
  • Knowledge and information: distribution of videos of children’s stories in Arabic with tips designed to encourage joint activity with the children to the thousands of WhatsApp subscribers of the association’s network. According to the digital channels, the videos were viewed about 3,000 times. We also provided support for the distribution of relevant videos from government offices on the association’s WhatsApp and the other digital platforms.
  • Opening a database of tips and digital content on the Al-Baqour website beyond what the Tipat Halav centers offer in order to raise awareness for the importance of oral literacy among parents
  • Meetings for mothers in Segev Shalom in collaboration with the early childhood center. Under the joint direction of the library instructor and an employee of the child development unit with the aim of imparting mental resilience to mothers and children during an emergency, strengthening the parent-child relationship and emphasizing the importance of reading. So far there have been two meetings attended by 30 mothers and 60 children, with two groups meeting once a week.

 

Planned activities

  • Purchase of a therapeutic “hibuki” doll or a blanket for the purpose of discussing and expressing feelings while also receiving a warm hug by a doll. This would require training for 28 instructors from ““My First Library – From My Letter to Alola” and “Mothers Guiding Mothers,” on the subject of dolls as a therapeutic educational tool.
  • Establishing a womens’ theater group under the management of Hanan Abo Zlaf, who specializes in therapeutic theater, that will perform for children in the education system and in schools, recording plays on video and sending them through the association’s WhatsApp system.

 

Written by:

Roaia Hozayel-Alsana – Program Manager: “My First Library – From My Letter to Alola”

Hanan Abo Zlaf – Vice President of Programs and Pedagogy

Shlomit Somech Lehmann – CEO, 0525-420325, shlomit@al-baqour.org.il

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