Wednesday, June 12, 2019

How the Malki Foundation got started

From Varda Meyers Epstein's interview on the Elder of Ziyon blog
A brief extract here from an interview published a week ago on the influential Elder of Ziyon blog site.

Varda Meyers Epstein, under the nom-de-web Judean Rose, conducted the interview which was published as "A Father Speaks Out: The Murder of Malki Roth and the Refusal of Jordan to Extradite the Beast Ahlam Tamimi".
In August 2001, partnered by Rachel, a school-friend, she [Malki] insisted her way into the annual summer camp held by Etgarim, a wonderful nonprofit that provides summer sports, camping and the best of outdoors activity for youngsters with special needs, both cognitive and physical. Malki told us that Etgarim wasn’t geared up to take volunteers but that somehow the girls broke through the resistance and became part of the team. The photos we later saw show Malki smiling from ear to ear as she poses with campers. Most of what we know about those few days we learned after the Sbarro bombing which happened just a couple of days after Malki came home from the north. The stories they shared with us are unbearably touching.
We named the new entity the Malki Foundation: in Hebrew, Keren Malki. Almost eighteen years on, it has a terrific record of quiet, modest achievement, empowering thousands of parents of children with extreme special needs—children from every part of Israeli society without regard for religion, political outlook, national identification or economic capability—who have made the decision to embrace the challenge of raising their child with special needs at home and withstanding the pressure to institutionalize the child.
We avoid intruding into the family’s life or second-guessing them on decisions about which non-medical therapies they feel will most benefit their child. We support physical therapy, speech therapy, hydrotherapy, therapeutic horse riding and occupational therapy. They choose the therapist and the times and the frequency; we pay. We want them to feel empowered. It’s a successful model. We also provide home-care and mobility equipment, and for families living in the periphery—Israel’s far north and far south—we send our own therapists right into the home. For many of them, we could provide an open check for therapy services and they would be unable to spend the money. Israel seriously lets such families down.
Associating tragedy, personal loss, grief and pain with good, constructive deeds is a respected and time-honored Jewish response. We call those deeds hesed. I don’t intend to wax poetical in explaining why the family created the Malki Foundation but want simply to say: it gives me the opportunity, often and before audiences I would not otherwise reach, of saying: There was a very special young woman called Malki and we are all poorer for her having been taken from us.
Malki will never be a statistic but an inspiration. And in remembering her, we also realize that she and the savage who engineered her death are not—as several dull journalists said to me at various points in the weeks after the massacre—two sides of the same coin. 
If you have the time to read the whole piece, it may cast the Malki Foundation's work in a different light for you.

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