Avi* came to Emunah’s Children’s Centre in Afula with five of his siblings when it became obvious that his parents could no longer cope with looking after their family. His parents made aliyah from Canada. Avi’s father was unable to cope and abandoned the children. His mother suffered from severe psychiatric problems and was hospitalised much of the time before her death in February this year. Avi’s youngest sister Esther* was three when she came to Afula and had no language at all.
Since coming to Afula the children have all received intensive counselling and therapeutic support as well as being looked after as part of the Emunah ‘family’at Afula. The head of the Children’s Centre, Shlomo Kessel is a remarkable man and he and his wife are almost substitute parents for the 80 residential children and the additional 100 children who attend day care programmes. Wherever possible Emunah tries to keep siblings together and it has certainly heped Avi and his siblings to stay together.
One of Avi’s favourite places is the Petting Zoo at the Centre. Here he can experience caring for animals and at the same time talk with a trained therapist who can help him deal with his loss. When asked which was his favourite animal he told us “the big goat – because he has to be strong”.
*Not his real name