Babies and young children in Israel urgently need your help! They are the children of asylum seekers, mainly Eritrean Christians. Their mothers must work long hours at low-paid cleaning jobs, earning barely enough to feed and clothe their little ones. They cannot afford proper child care and have to put their children in overcrowded, life-threatening “pirate nurseries”. But with your help those babies and toddlers can be cared for by well trained, loving staff in clean, safe surroundings.
Rescue them from “baby warehouses”
The “pirate nurseries”, also known as “baby warehouses”, are the only type of childcare that most of the Eritrean Christian mothers can afford. Here the infants are “caged” in cots or playpens, and so neglected that they neither cry nor laugh. They are at daily risk of abuse or injury. Several babies have died.
Barnabas Fund is supporting a project, run by a remarkable Jewish agency, which provides proper childcare through good quality daycare centres, afterschool programmes and home nurseries. The children are given nutritious meals, and the trained staff give individual attention, developmentally appropriate play, and emotional support.
The parents of these children fled to Israel between 2006 and 2012 to escape terrible persecution in their homeland, Eritrea. Many were trafficked on their way across the Sinai Peninsula. They have no legal standing in Israel and their children are stateless; they are not eligible for social services from the state.
Enabling vulnerable families to thrive
Barnabas Fund is also providing food, powdered milk and nappies for some extra-needy families, such as those where the adults cannot work due to sickness or accidents. There are school bags and school equipment for the older Eritrean children, plus textbooks for their parents to learn Hebrew and English.
Another Barnabas-supported programme helps to strengthen whole families, many of whose members are deeply traumatised as well as struggling with grinding poverty. This programme includes mental health services, language classes, and helps them access what rights they do have as stateless asylum-seekers in Israel. It also helps the children (and their parents) prepare for entry into the Israeli state school system when they are old enough.
Help them to help the most vulnerable children and their families
There are an estimated 6,000 Eritrean children in Israel under the age of six, and about three-quarters of them are still in the “baby warehouses”. Every day that passes, more damage is being done to their young bodies and minds. Just $38 can make a big difference to a child’s weekly care.
Will you help more of these little ones to be cared for in loving, safe day care centres? Will you help their older brothers and sisters and their parents with their wide range of needs?