Friday, November 28, 2014

Creating new possibilities for special-needs children in the Jezreel Valley

Afula, with its Emek Medical Center hospital
in the foreground [Image Source]
Like many well-run charitable bodies, the Malki Foundation, with broad support from ordinary folk in several countries, routinely turns to institutional funders for grants that enable our programs to thrive.

Making those requests takes a much larger effort than most people would probably expect. It's a year-round activity. And much of the time, in the nature of things, the answer at the end of the process (especially in the past year) is no. There are too many decent not-for-profits, too much need, not enough sources of funding, tighter budgets and so on. In the world of not-for-profits, it's a perpetual, well-understood challenge.

So it's with real feeling that we share some very welcome good news today: approval of a significant grant by the Jewish Federation of Western Connecticut, directed at the Keren Malki Therapies at Home Program, one of our three programs.

The Western Connecticut Federation is part of a consortium which in 1994 partnered with the communities of the Afula-Gilboa region in the Jezreel Valley of northern Israel. (Worth noting that, being located only eight miles from the Palestinian Arab city of Jenin, Afula has been a frequent target for terrorists.) That partnership focuses on economic development, fostering coexistence among Israeli Jews and Arabs, education, and building the next generation of young leadership.

The Malki Foundation program already supports a cluster of children living with their families in the vicinity of the city of Afula and the surrounding communities.

One of them, a 10 year old, has a progressive neurological disorder (severe psycho-motor retardation) and is subject to epileptic seizures. He is unable to speak or walk and does not make eye contact with people. The mother, who is divorced, turned to the Malki Foundation to help offset the cost of essential hydrotherapy sessions the burden of which, unlike the therapies to which the child has access in the special-education school, falls entirely on her shoulders.

It's a typical story - parents who want their child to have the best chance of overcoming the challenges that make everything so difficult. Money - its relative scarcity - is naturally a major factor for them. But so is the family's determination; without that, good outcomes are fair more rare.

The Western Connecticut grant (thank you, good people!) will help Keren Malki deepen and broaden our support of the determined families in the Afula/Gilboa region who, faced with a loved child's special needs, see not a brick wall but a hurdle that has to, and can, be overcome.

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