A New Place for Children

Cameron Paine-Thaler

Earlier in July, the ARDC shelter opened its long-anticipated Children’s Center! The Center is a space for babies and children of Shapira neighborhood refugees to receive daycare and educational programs. The Center is directly across the street from the ARDC shelter, providing easy access to both shelter residents as well as neighbors from the community.

Although the Center is still in its early days, there already is a daily rotation of about 10-15 children as young as three months old to two years. Our live-in resident and full time manager, Ghenet Teweldobrhan, supervises the children. Ghenet runs the center daily from approximately 6:30am to as late as 7:30pm, depending on the needs of area mothers. ARDC volunteers provide daily assistance. Ghenet reports that the shelter provides a “clean and healthy space, which is especially good for the baby, but good for the mom also.” Affordable (300 shekels a month) and accessible childcare provides refugee mothers a chance to maintain otherwise difficult work hours.

ARDC Volunteer Avi Aharoni has also begun a weekday summer camp for older children, mostly between four-eight years old. The camp keeps the kids active outside with fun and educational activities. Shelter resident children and neighborhood children participate. ARDC hopes to continue this program for those who are not enrolled in school in the fall, in addition to an afterschool activities program.

ARDC has been grateful to receive many childcare donations from the Tel Aviv community, though we are always looking for more key educational and childcare materials… and volunteers! For inquiries on in-kind or financial donations, please contact Avi Sofer. If you are interested in volunteering with the children, please contact ARDC’s Volunteer Coordinator Tessa Wiggans.