Makom Balev for Young Women in Distress
Empowering and keeping women safe is an integral part of WIZO’s philosophy. Through the creation of life changing programs, WIZO is giving women of all ages opportunities to regain ownership of their lives.
Beer Sheva is the largest city in the Negev Desert of Southern Israel and is a virtual melting pot of Jewish immigrants from East Africa, the former USSR, and Ethiopia. In addition, it’s southern location and neighboring Bedouin and Arab communities make for a complex social and diverse community.
In 2008, WIZO stepped in to create the ADI program in Beer Sheva to assist a group of twelve girls ages 13-16 who had been emotionally, physically and sexually abused and who also lacked family or community supports.
Moving Ahead-Makom Balev
With the blessings and support of the Beer Sheva Municipality and local Welfare authorities, crucial funding for therapeutic treatment and programming was approved, and a suitable location was found.
As WIZO’s work and reputation with the young teens expanded throughout Beer Sheva, older girls ages 16-26 began to approach WIZO for help. The numbers of girls grew in both groups, not only making the premises crowded, but also making it very clear that the developmental, emotional and therapeutic needs of the two age groups were very different. The older girls needed a place of their own and WIZO began negotiations with local municipal and welfare authorities in order to create ‘Makom Balev’ (a place in the heart).
Program Highlights-Makom Balev
- Professional counselling and support to a maximum of 50 young women.
- Vocational rehabilitation tapered to individual needs.
- Referral to medical care.
- Safe and hygienic emergency housing.
- Hot nutritious meals.
Israel Government Security Regulations require that a bomb shelter be installed on the premises. During peaceful times, the bomb shelter is used to conduct group therapies and activities. In times of rocket fire, the shelter provides a safe and secure space for the young women and staff.