Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A reminder that it can take time to make a world of difference

Living as we do now in a world of instant gratification, I find that too often I do not have patience to wait. I have come to expect immediate responses and results, whether it is something as simple as an email or - as the one who directs the organization's programs from Jerusalem - whether it is a Keren Malki program.

In 2011, the Malki Foundation initiated its third program, the Zlata Hersch Memorial Therapists on Wheels Program. In this, we pay for qualified therapists to travel to Israel’s outlying communities and provide paramedical therapy sessions to disabled children. Without  this service, these children have no way of receiving these vital therapies as there is a severe shortage of therapists in the areas where they live.

Initially we started with a pilot in the south, funded by a generous seed grant. By the end of 2012, we were confident of the success of the pilot and were ready to increase the number of children supported and expand to the north.

During 2013 we turned to and received generous funding from US Jewish federations. We spoke to all the right people, reconfirming the need and were sure that by the end of 2013 we would reach our goal of 16 children receiving therapies through the Therapists on Wheels program.

This is where my impatience set in. I forgot that, in the real world, things take time; the response is not immediate.

In general, information about Keren Malki programs is spread by word of mouth. So it takes time until the parents hear and understand, for them to contact us and complete the application process. This, together with finding therapists with the appropriate skills to deal with the complicated issues of these children.

By the end 2013, we had only added 2 new children, and not only were we getting nervous but so also were our funders. By mid-2014, a few more children were added but we saw a huge increase in interest from parents.

Over the past couple of months, we have reached and surpassed our goal – 8 children in northern Israel and 8 children in southern Israel currently receiving in total 20 therapy sessions per week (some children are entitled to more than one type of therapy) provided by 11 dedicated therapists. And an additional 4 children waiting to start therapy.

The need was there, we knew that. It just took time to get to the right families. 

Now we are up and running as we had planned, and continuing to expand. The numbers are not huge and they never will be but, for each child helped by Therapists on Wheels, it makes the world of difference.

Debbie Fishman
The Malki Foundation - Jerusalem

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