The Lo van Leeuwen Children’s Village , Afula Ilit
The Afula Ilit Children’s Village, was opened in 1980 to provide an educational and rehabilitative framework for religious children from the surrounding areas, who were removed from their homes and the custody of their parents by court order.
Operated and managed by Hamifal, the Afula Ilit Children’s Village is a home to 92 children aged 5-17 who live across 8 family units and 30 local children who arrive daily from the local town for special after-school programs.
Our mission is to rehabilitate children and youth at-risk by providing them with a nurturing and loving home within a family unit structure. We view our model as an ideal substitute framework from their biological homes that were posing a threat/danger to their lives. Furthermore, our model presents vital characteristics for the healthy development of any child.
We educate our children according to universal values, Jewish principles and Zionist beliefs that promote tolerance and respect for others.
Afula Ilit is a State Religious Home and thus its daily routine is according to the traditional religious nature. This is expressed in its daily life proceedings that strengthen and deepen Jewish identity by observing the Sabbath, marking Jewish holidays and celebrations, as well as encouraging the children to participate in state religious youth movements such as Bnei Akiva.
The synagogue, located within the Children’s Village, is not used only for holding services but also for afternoon Torah classes and other religious oriented activities.
After-School Care Centers
Alongside the Children Village, an after-school facility is also operated on site and caters for 30 children living in high-risk environments from the local area. These children arrive after school and stay until 7pm. They receive help in completing their homework and have the opportunity to take part in activates with the village children. Moreover, these children are provided with extra-curricular activities, basic needs such as a warm meal and bathing that they may not receive at home.
Hamifal encourage educational and extra-curricular support as we see the direct result they have in boosting a child’s confidence, promoting empowerment and independence
The Children’s Village have ongoing supportive educational, cultural and social activities conducted alongside the school curriculum and include:
- Extra tutorial lessons administered by special education teachers during the afternoons
- Educational Center Facility that includes a diverse and rich library, computer rooms and classrooms
- Art therapy used to help children express their emotions
- Recreational Classes take place within the home and the local community center
- Entertainment Center, equipped with a variety of games and toys. Every year, new games are purchased and introduced to the collection
- A Summer Camp organized for the children and includes and range of fun and exciting activities
- Bnei Mitzvah Project – a traditional and highly successful program held in cooperation with the child’s biological family
- Sulamot Philharmonic Music School – A music project in conjunction with the Israeli philharmonic orchestra that encourages and supports children with musical talents.
- Parents– children workshops, activities and meetings conduct throughout the year in order to empower our children’s biological parents and to rehabilitate and repair child – parent relations.
The following is a testimony of Ana, a graduate of the Afula Ilit Children’s Home:
“Thank you for all those years in which I was raised and educated here. I came to the village a shy girl, lacking confidence. My tutors, who were like parents to me, gave me the best educational environment possible. They taught me to distinguish between good and bad, helping me see the good in life. I never dared to dream of myself as a person who would have such confidence. Now I perform on stage playing the flute and graduated school with great grades! Today, looking back, I know that it was all worthwhile, I am now a young lady, an independent girl who can face any challenge. Now, when I’m thinking of leaving the home, I am nervous but I know it is possible because of the tools I have learnt here. This place was my real home. Thanks to Etty and Shlomo. Thanks to Asher the director and to all the Village staff.”
Village Director: Asher Ben Shimol
20 HaHinanit Street , PO Box 1003 Afula Ilit, 18532 Tel : +972-4- 6593970 Fax: 972-4-6594390