IsraAID providing long-term support to Israel’s displaced communities
IsraAID, Israel’s leading non-governmental humanitarian aid group, is supporting vulnerable and displaced Israeli communities at over a dozen locations across the country. This is IsraAID’s first large-scale response in Israel, building off two decades of humanitarian experience around the globe. IsraAID is focusing its response on mental health and psychosocial protection, education, and logistical coordination. Since October 8, IsraAID has been working hand-in-hand with displaced communities to provide immediate relief as well as long-term structures to support their resilience.
IsraAID is working at over a dozen hotels, hostels, and apartment complexes at the Dead Sea, Eilat, and in the center of the country where displaced communities are being housed. These include communities such as Kibbutz Be’eri, Kibbutz Kissufim, Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, and others, which were among the hardest hit in the October 7th attacks, as well as communities from the wider region including Sderot, Ashkelon, and more. IsraAID has a staff of approximately 100, including dozens of trained mental health and education professionals, deployed across the country. The organization is working in close partnership with dozens of civil society organizations, community leadership committees, regional councils, as well as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to provide tailored solutions to the unique needs of each community.
IsraAID’s mental health programs include child-and-parent-friendly spaces, stress-relief activities, distribution of resilience kits, and guidance for parents. All of IsraAID’s child-and-parent spaces operate under the supervision of trained mental health professionals with expertise in psychological first aid and trauma care. IsraAID is also committed to ‘helping the helpers’ and is facilitating training and debriefing sessions for first responders, and facilitating online webinars that train mental health professionals and grassroots volunteers in psychological first aid, self-care, burnout prevention, and the prevention of vicarious trauma.
As communities enter their fourth week of displacement, IsraAID has been working to build temporary frameworks that can minimize the disruption to children’s education and offer a sense of stability and routine. Building off models deployed in other emergencies around the world, IsraAID has been working together with local authorities to build “transitional education centers ” – providing equipment, logistic support, hiring supplementary staff, and integrating psychosocial support.
In addition to its work with displaced communities, IsraAID is working to support some of the country’s most vulnerable populations. IsraAID has partnered with the organization AJEEC-NISPED, an Arab-Jewish NGO that works to support development in the Negev, to reach Bedouin communities in the south, and with Assaf – The Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel – to reach the asylum seeker community in Tel Aviv. In both communities, IsraAID is working with its partners to deliver psychosocial support, alongside 200 family meal kits together with World Central Kitchen.
IsraAID’s Chief Global Humanitarian and Resilience Officer Naama Gorodischer, said:
“We’re working to support Israel’s most vulnerable communities, many of which endured unimaginable trauma and continue to be faced with uncertainty.
Over the past two decades, IsraAID has worked to bring Israeli expertise to over 60 countries in their moment of need. Now, all of this experience is crucial at home. Working within our home community enables us to utilize our global emergency management expertise while being able to navigate the systems and contextualize the programs in a way that is unique to this response.
And still, our principles in this response are the same as every other – we’re working together with community leaders and local partners to provide both immediate and longer-term relief to vulnerable communities. Amid all the uncertainty, community leaders are demonstrating an inspiring ability to proactively step up and navigate their communities through this crisis, especially in light of the horrific experiences of October 7th.”
Further information is available on request, including interviews with IsraAID CEO Yotam Polizer and other individuals involved in this operation.
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IsraAID is a leading international humanitarian non-governmental organization, based in Israel. Since 2001, IsraAID has become synonymous with a rapid response to humanitarian crises. Its medical teams, post-trauma experts, community specialists and other professionals have led international responses to disasters and civil strife around the world. During and after emergencies, IsraAID partners with local communities to re-build their lives, their communities and their futures, together. As of October 2023, IsraAID has responded to crises in more than 60 countries.