When Maayan* and her sister Nurit* first came to the Emunah Neve Michael Emergency Crisis Shelter for abused and abandoned children, they were only 4 and 6 years old. The 24/7 Emergency Children’s Shelter is the only one of its kind in Israel. Police and social workers are able to bring infants and children to receive immediate care and shelter while the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services work on a long term plan for their care.
Maayan and Nurit’s parents were divorced and at the time, they were living with their mother, who was a serious drug abuser. Their father suffered from a severe mental illness and could not care for his children, either. The sisters stayed in the Emunah Emergency Shelter until they were able to be moved into the Residential Home on a permanent basis.
Initially, their mother was granted limited visitation and the girls would occasionally go to visit her at her home. During one such visit, their mother was so high on drugs and out of control that she literally threw a washing machine at Maayan. When the mother missed her “target” she became even more manic and set the apartment on fire. Luckily, the sisters escaped from the apartment unharmed, physically. After this horrifying incident, a judge ruled that the mother could no longer have any visitation rights with the girls, including any type of supervised visitation. The daughters have been totally cut off from their mother and hardly have any type of contact with their dysfunctional father.
This has been a horrific trauma for the sisters. The pain and grief each girl suffers is beyond belief. Thank God they are being cared for by the exceptional and loving staff at the Emunah Neve Michael Home. In addition to receiving extensive trauma counseling, each girl participates in the arts and music therapy programs, and enjoys numerous sports activities and gardening. Every day the girls are getting a little stronger and happier. They are starting to look toward having a brighter, more stable future for themselves.
Nurit and Mayaan’s story is only one illustration of the complex lives and traumas suffered by hundreds of children that are in Emunah’s care.
(*names have been changed to protect the children’s privacy)