Path to Peace Joint Jewish Bedouin Daycare Center

Our vision for the Neve Hanna children’s home is education for tolerance and the acceptance of the different.  These children are often treated by normative society with prejudice and suspicion and generally experience difficulties to integrate socially.  In consequence, they consider this attitude as the normative behavior and implement it in their daily relationships. We aim to change these patterns of behavior by means of education.  We have chosen to face this problem by exposing the children to another group who suffers from prejudice and discrimination – Bedouin teenagers.  We want them to learn in a playful and educational way, how to bridge over cultural and social gaps.  We hope that by doing so, we will reduce the fear of the other and encourage mutual acceptance and tolerance.

At first, we initiated the “Encounters” Project – twice a month, 10 Bedouin teens arrive at Neve Hanna and 10 teens from Neve Hanna visit the nearby Bedouin town Rahat – for cultural and creative activities and mutual acquaintance.  The mutual visits at Rahat, led us to realize that there are teens in Rahat that suffer from the same social and functional problems that the teens at Neve Hanna have.  Many belong to dysfunctional families and suffer from domestic violence, sexual abuse and neglect.  This realization led to the initiation (alongside the Encounters Project) of the Path to Peace Joint Jewish Bedouin Daycare Center in 2004.

Project Description:  The Joint Jewish Bedouin Daycare Center Path to Peace serves 8 Bedouin teens and 8 Jewish teens from low socio economic and emotionally dysfunctional families who were referred to the program by social services.  The teens arrive to the center daily at 13:00 and return home at 19:00 while remaining in their homes and attending regular schools.  The center provides the teens with therapeutic and educational services.

We offer a large variety of therapeutic measures, such as art therapy, movement therapies, animal-assisted therapy, therapeutic horseback riding and psychological therapies.

We tailor a therapeutic program suited individually to the personality and needs of every teenager and parents at different stages of intervention.  The variety of therapies is an important factor in the healing process of these kids, and our success in raising funds will lead to the increase of therapeutic variety and frequency.

The kids need to be provided with fundamental learning and behavioral habits, and assisted in order to reduce the learning gaps.  As part of the daily routine the teens meet the professional teachers who develop individual learning programs for each child, including the remedial teaching and the acquirement of basic learning skills.  The proposed enrichment and tutoring is a critical measure to enable these children to integrate successfully into the educational system and in normative life.  In addition, as part of the therapeutic program, we established a join Jewish-Muslim Theatre group that incorporates dance, theatre and music activities that highlight the need for cooperation and mutual understanding, between the members, via methods of leisure and fun.

Project Goals:

  1. To provide a therapeutic framework, for Jewish and Muslim-Bedouin children from distressed and deprived families.
  2. To bridge the cultural and learning gaps through mutual learning about each other’s lives, and common aspects of the communities.
  3. To create an infrastructure for coexistence and mutual acceptance between Jewish and Muslim-Bedouin Israelis.