Makom Balev, which means a place in the heart, is WIZO Australia’s new project that provides emergency housing and treatment for young women at extremely high risk.
Some of these girls are as young as 16 and as result of their unfortunate circumstances, are facing a bleak future of prostitution, drugs, alcoholism and abuse.
Without education, support or psychological intervention they would be powerless to make better lives for themselves. They simply no longer believe in themselves nor understand that it is their basic right to live with dignity and be treated with respect.
Makom Balev is located in Beer Sheva, the largest city in the Negev Desert of Southern Israel. Beer Sheva is a melting pot of Jewish immigrants from Russia and Africa. Its southern location and neighbouring Bedouin and Arab communities make for a socially complex and low socio economic community.
The Makom Balev program is due to open in January 2017 and will provide:
- Professional counselling and support to a maximum of 50 young women
- Vocational rehabilitation tapered to individual needs
- Referral to medical care
- Safe and hygienic emergency housing
- Hot nutritious meals
The building where Makom Balev is to be housed is in need of several crucial renovations essential for the centre to open. Showers must be installed, the rooms need to be painted and the kitchen must be upgraded. It is also vital that a bomb shelter be added, in order to pass security regulations and to receive permission to open the facility.
Empowering and keeping women safe is an integral part of WIZO’s philosophy. Through the creation of life changing programs, such as the Makom Balev Emergency Housing and Treatment Centre for Young Women in Beer Sheva, WIZO is giving women of all ages opportunities to regain ownership of their lives.