When House of Hope’s resident Yael was only 9, she was found wandering alone in the streets of Tel Aviv at night. For the little girl, it was not an unusual situation. Born in Argentina, she never met her father and made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) with her mother at a young age.
“My mother suffered from mental illness and required frequent hospitalizations,” Yael recalls. “I had a difficult childhood of neglect and physical and emotional abuse.”
Unable to build a stable life, the woman took the child with her from apartment to apartment, often leaving her alone in the streets. Yael did not attend school and did not even understand why someone would think that the fact that a little girl was spending the night in the streets and sleeping during the day was problematic.
“I didn’t understand at all what the problem was,” she says.
After that one night when someone spotted her though, she was transferred to an emergency shelter, and then referred to House of Hope. From that moment, her life changed.
Established in 1960 by the revered Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam, the organization houses 100 girls ages 7-20 in a beautiful facility just a few meters from the beach in the city of Netanya. 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.
“House of Hope gave me hope for the future, they made me understand that I could have a different life,” Yael highlights.
House of Hope provides its residents with all their physical and psychological needs. The girls sleep at the facility, but each attend a local school that better suits their situation. They are divided into small groups and each group is assigned a staff member that makes sure to give them the individual attention, love and support. In the afternoons, House of Hope staff help the girls with their homework, but also organize many activities, from arts and crafts workshops to music classes.
“After I arrived at House of Hope, I regularly met with a psychologist who gave me the strength to rebuild myself,” Yael recalls. “Step by step, I closed my educational and social gaps.”
Today Yael is about to graduate highschool, and has many dreams.
“I have a desire to help other people in need in my national service, and in addition I would like to study accounting,” she says.
House Of Hope needs donations in order to continue helping girls like Yael. Since its foundation, it has helped over 5,000 Israeli girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Do you want to help Yael and many other girls to build a better life? Donate through House of Hope’s website.
This article was written in cooperation with House of Hope.