ALEH: COPING UNDER FIRE
We thank our caring friends all around the world for your deep concern and support during the past days of constant rocket fire from Gaza.
Following is a snapshot of life at ALEH during the past 48 hours before the ceasefire went into effect:
According to the military, over 460 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel on Monday and Tuesday. When a Red Alert siren sounded, all staff, residents, visitors and volunteers had about 30-45 seconds to get to a safe area.
Over 240 ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran residents, all with intellectual and developmental disabilities, moved into safe areas to sleep for 2 nights together with their dedicated caregivers and volunteers. Extra beds and mattresses were brought into the sheltered rooms, while the National Service volunteers found creative ways to make the rooms seem more like a social sleepover event – including holding a ‘pajama party’ to buoy spirits.
Highly dependent residents requiring round-the-clock nursing care, were moved into secure areas for the duration, along with their accompanying medical and paramedical equipment, as they could not be easily moved when sirens sounded.
The staff was reinforced and supported by additional volunteers – including a number from overseas who do not even speak Hebrew – to enable an almost 1:1 ratio of care per resident. National Service girls moved into the village, making themselves available 24/7 to help during a siren and to run various activities within the shelters.
Workers all received safety instructions from Homeland Security as well as ongoing emotional support from ALEH’s social worker and psychologists. In addition to physically assisting the residents, the staff was responsible for conveying a sense of reassurance to prevent panic, confusion and distress amongst the resident population.
The Staff and volunteers at ALEH have been exemplary in their dedication, performing their jobs under fire. On duty round the clock, they put their lives on hold to ensure the safety of residents and preserve an air of normalcy and calm.
Every effort was made to continue normal daily routines, with vocational programs and therapies held inside residences or sheltered rooms. Arts and crafts and regular activities take place in a special corner of the protected rooms; nevertheless, our residents enjoyed themselves just as much as usual. Normal schedule continues as much as possible, with activities and therapies are taking place in the shelters.
ALEH’s Special Education Schools in the Negev and at ALEH Moriah in Gedera closed their doors on Tuesday for attending community children. Outpatient rehabilitative services were likewise cancelled in the Negev while the bombardment of rockets continued. Many therapists still came to work to serve residents and the patients who braved the trip to the village in order to continue the treatment vital to their rehabilitation.
We will continue to keep you updated as events warrant.
On behalf of the entire ALEH family, we thank you for your partnership and caring as we hopefully approach quieter and calmer days
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