For the young residents of the House of Hope in Netanya, Israel, the beginning of winter marks the time to go shopping for warm clothes.
“We want our girls to feel like any other girl,” Baracha Runes, operations manager at the organization says. “Now it is getting cold, so we take them to the mall to buy winter clothes.”
Unlike “normal” girls, House Of Hope residents don’t have the option of going shopping with their parents.
Established in 1960 by Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam, the organization houses 100 girls ages 7-20 in a beautiful facility just a few meters from the beach. All of the residents are children whose families lack the ability to raise them. In several instances, the children have endured abuse at the hands of their families.
“We still want them to have a sense of family, so for example during the Jewish holidays, we arrange for them to be hosted by local families,” Runes explains.
While the girls all live in the House, they each attend school at the educational framework that meets their needs.
“We work with 13 different schools in the city and surroundings,” Runes says.
In the afternoons, the children are assisted by tutors as they do their homework and then there is time for extracurricular activities.
“There are art workshops, dance classes, music classes, sports and more,” Runes remarks.
As Runes points out, the support provided by House of Hope does not end when its residents turn 18.
“It is a difficult age and we want to continue to assist them,” she says. “For many of them, this means to support them as they begin college.”
Each step of their life, from childhood to adulthood, the girls of House Of Hope know that they are not alone.
Since its foundation, the House of Hope has helped over 5,000 Israeli girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. The organization relies on donations to do this important work. Readers can donate to help through their website.