June 3rd 2013
Located in Pardes Chana, 30 miles south of Haifa, Neve Michael is a home away from home for 350 children aged 4 to 18, who have come to the center from challenging circumstances. Since the 1940s, children have been brought from all over Israel to live at Neve Michael, where they are given the care and attention they need to heal and have a chance at a normal life. A visit to the Neve Michael youth village is an opportunity to glimpse poignantly at Israel’s most difficult social issues, through the prism of a major success story, which is effectively turning lives around.
Many of the young residents have suffered mental, physical and/or sexual abuse as children of mentally ill or drug and/or alcohol addicted parents. A significant percentage of the residents at Neve Michael are children from Ethiopia, who lost one or both parents while crossing the desert on their journey to Israel.
Visitors are encouraged to tour the Children’s Village and see the way young, broken lives are pieced together, one hug at a time. A special Bar and Bat Mitzvah twinning program encourages families from outside of Israel to make a meaningful connection with a child living at Neve Michael.
The Children’s Village at Neve Michael is a project of Emunah of America. The staff works hard to create a family-like atmosphere. Ten to 12 children live together in small, family-style units called Mishpachtonim (from the Hebrew word for family), with young, married couples whose mission is to model a healthy, functional family dynamic. Whenever possible, relationships between the children at Neve Michael and their natural parents and siblings are also encouraged.
Neve Michael offers an impressive array of services for the children who live there, including crisis and therapy centers, full day care services, an elementary school on the premises and more. The government of Israel gives Neve Michael about 60% of the funds necessary to provide these children with the care they need, including food, clothing, tuition and special psychological treatment. The balance comes from private donations.
In everything they do, the core mission of Neve Michael is to help their young residents break the cycle of violence, addiction and distress from which they come and to develop into normal healthy young adults. A tour and visit with the children of Neve Michael is a cheerful and uplifting demonstration of how children’s lives are being turned around with love, every single day.