NEW YORK, NY: April 26, 2022—More than 50 Ukrainian teens aged 12 to 18 are finding refuge at the Israeli youth villages of Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America. The young people include seven elite track and field athletes, who arrived with their two coaches and are training for an upcoming competition in Europe. The two youth villages, Meir Shfeyah, near Haifa, and Neurim, near Netanya, provide, at-risk young people with the full spectrum of care, from food and shelter to counseling and education, and help set them on a path to a successful future.
The athletes, who were matched with Neurim through a collaboration between the Israeli Athletic Union and the local municipal authority, will continue their training at the village until the end of May, when they will fly to Greece to prepare for a competition.
The other Ukrainian teens – 25 at Meir Shfeyah and what will be a total of 24 at Neurim – were referred to the villages by Israel’s Ministry of Education and The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). The two sponsor a program called Naale that enables Jewish teens from outside Israel to complete their high school education in Israel for free. Many of the Ukrainian teens were in the middle of the application process when the war began. All were immediately admitted.
The new arrivals are fast becoming part of life at the villages, helped by Ukrainian students living at the villages before the war started. Some have joined the orchestra at one of the villages and others are taking part in a talent show. All are receiving counseling to help them deal with the trauma caused by the war and having had to flee Ukraine.
Said Naomi Adler, CEO of Hadassah, “Our first goal is to make these young Ukrainians feel safe and nurtured. In addition to recovering from the upheaval and trauma they have experienced, they will need help dealing with their uncertain future. We are here to provide that help.”
In addition to offering a home to young Ukrainians escaping the war, Hadassah has sent seven teams of doctors to Poland from its medical center in Israel, the Hadassah Medical Organization. The physicians are running the clinic at the Przemyśl Humanitarian Aid Center near the Medyka border crossing in southeast Poland, which treats more patients than any other aid center in the area. Hadassah is also partnering with Doctors Without Borders to triage patients at the border crossing and, with the Polish Red Cross, to run the pediatric ward at the refugee center in nearby Korczowa.
ABOUT HADASSAH’S YOUTH VILLAGES
Nearly 33 percent of Israeli children live in poverty and almost half a million live in abusive environments, lack basic necessities and suffer from challenges like learning disabilities. Hadassah’s youth villages, Meir Shfeyah and Neurim, give these at-risk Israeli teens, whatever their ethnicity and religion, and young people from places in the world where it is no longer safe to be a Jew, a home, the chance to complete their education and the support they need to thrive. The villages provide wraparound care, from food and shelter to counseling and education, and foster independence and self-esteem through cultural enrichment programs, sports and a wide range of vocational training. Over the last 100 years, more than 300,000 students from 80 countries have graduated from the villages. For more information, click here.