A bomb shelter or safe room can be a place of high anxiety, especially in a time of crisis. Imagine a family running for their lives in less than 15 seconds, arriving at their safe room, and then needing to wait for 10 minutes until the threat of incoming missiles is over.
Now imagine that same family with young children, or handicapped children, or older grandparents who cannot move quickly, and imagine them waiting in their safe room for the interminable time it takes for the threat to pass, all the time wondering whether or not their house will be the one to be hit.
Such an anxiety building situation can certainly cause a fair amount of stress. Now imagine that this situation plays itself out, day after day, night after night, for three weeks. Or for a month, or a year, or in the case of cities like Sderot, for 14 years in a row.
One organization is endeavoring to combat the high anxiety and the mental anguish caused by this unbearable situation that has become an all too common occurrence in southern Israel. Click-SAVI is an organization which employs seniors to create and manufacture craft-kits for children as well as seniors to use and create works of art. The organization has begun manufacturing special craft-kits for people in the south to use while they are stuck in their bomb shelters or safe rooms.
The operating model of Click-SAVI is quite unique. The organization is a pioneering social business enterprise that provides work to seniors, thereby improving their financial situation and changing their self-image from being a dependent and living on social welfare or pensions, to once again being a productive and useful member of society, while at the same time promoting economic growth in Israel.
Click-SAVI usually manufactures and sells craft-kits and gifts to kindergartens, schools, summer camps, businesses, government offices, high-tech companies and the general public.
However, ever since the war in Gaza began, the organization has pushed production into high-gear and begun sending the craft-kits, which are being donated by sponsors all over the country, to the embattled south in order to help alleviate the stress and tension of the situation for the citizens there, who find themselves once again, under attack.
The relatively inexpensive craft-kit (each kit costs 20 NIS or roughly $5 including delivery) can provide hours of activity for those who are homebound or stuck in shelters.
Linda Mosek, a former Australian from Melbourne and the Executive Director of Click-SAVI, told Breaking Israel News a bit more about the purpose of this current drive. “We aim to relieve the tension, anxiety and fears felt by the people in the south who are sitting in their shelters often for hours at a time due to continuing rocket attacks, by providing them with some ‘time out’ to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of crafting,” she said.
“We usually provide our kits for children in kindergartens or to seniors who are homebound, now we are taking our kits to the children and elderly in the south, even often going house to house to seniors who are homebound so that they to can turn times of tension into a time of creativity and thereby alleviate the stress,” Mosek explained.
The name Click-SAVI originates from the names of the Australian donors, Sara and Victor Fonda who donated the machinery to get the craft-kit manufacturing project started back in 2003. The Click name is an acronym for “Community Leadership and Innovation of Centers for the Elderly” and the organization has been working with seniors in the area in and around Hod Hasharon since 1983.
In addition to the SAVI project, Click also provides eight social centers for seniors as well as financial assistance for holocaust survivors, community support services and sports projects for the golden ages.
Linda explained that this simple idea seems to be making huge waves among the intended beneficiaries. “City councils and mayors are calling us up and asking for more kits, we get more and more requests daily,” she said.
Cities such as Ofakim and Sderot, which are located right near the Gaza border, have contacted Click-SAVI to express their gratitude for the craft-kits and request hundreds more. Multiple organizations including the Joint Distribution Committee as well as the Hod Hasharon city council have been instrumental in referring the kits to people who need them, as well as disseminating them. With the popularity of the clicks growing, even private individuals are contacting Click-SAVI to request kits for their families.
The kits, which come in a variety of designs and levels, take into account the different motor capabilities of the intended user. Mosek said, “We design kits specifically for four different types of motor abilities for seniors, as well as children. For the children the kits are more amateur aimed at their motor capabilities. The adults receive kits that are aimed for their level of capabilities. Crafts such as tapestry making are geared towards the more advanced adults, and people really enjoy it.”
Crafting has been known to possess a unique ability to relieve tension and calm the soul and mind. Mosek went so far as to call crafting a “wonder medicine” that has the ability to relieve tension in even the most difficult of situations. By keeping the mind occupied and creative one can prevent one’s self from focusing too much on the hostilities taking place all around them, and thereby turn a tense or anxious moment into a happy and productive one.
In the past three weeks since the conflict began in earnest, Click-SAVI has distributed close to 17,000 craft packets.
“What we are doing here is different,” said Mosek. “The country has been inundated by very caring people who are providing food and toiletries and many other wonderful things for the soldiers. We are focusing our attention on helping the local citizens keep calm while they are homebound or stuck in the shelters for elongated periods of time.”
The organization has also had their own share of the conflict to deal with, having had to close some of their centers due to the lack of adequate bomb shelters in those locations. Workers from those closed centers have taken their work home with them or are heading to other near by centers to continue their beloved work. Some of them have even taken craft-kits home themselves in order to stay active when their town comes under attack, which it has on more than one occasion.
Click-SAVI has certainly done their part for the citizens of the south but they want to do more. Mosek said that they are constantly inundated with requests for more craft-kits, but are in need of more funding to do so.
To learn more about Click-SAVI or to donate, click here.