Etgar did not find our safe haven until he was beginning 11th grade. He had not done well in school and constantly argued with his parents. Yet he was hopeful and ambitious, and through social services, came to our Meir Shfeyah youth village. He arrived in September 2018 and began a remarkable transformation.
His determination and involvement in village activities, along with his first-year achievements, were so impressive that his request to go on the 2019 Hadassah trip to Poland was approved. There he met a writer who tapped him to help translate, even though English is not Etgar’s first language. Since then, Etgar has assisted Meir Shfeyah staff by engaging with Hadassah Israel Trip visitors to Meir Shfeyah. Even with the pandemic restrictions, Etgar continued to tell his story — and that of the village — by participating in virtual Hadassah meetings and events.
Etgar graduated from Meir Shfeyah in July 2020, and has decided that after his army service, he wants to study to become a teacher.
Sergei started 9th grade at Hadassah Neurim soon after arriving from Moscow. He described himself as an “uninhibited boy” who had not attended school nor learned the most basic skills. Although clearly a smart kid, his integration into the village was not easy. Sergei was constantly engaging in risky behavior, including the use of dangerous substances. Then, at the beginning of 10th grade, Sergei began taking part in Neurim programs — surfing, art and a theater group. Soon he began putting real effort into his studies and began to excel.
Last year, he began exercising in the gym, in large part so he’ll be in good shape for his upcoming military service — he hopes to volunteer for an elite IDF unit. In his final year at Neurim, Sergei plans to study in the pre-military preparatory course "Lachish-Strings," as well as volunteer on the village animal farm.