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An oasis even for the youngest

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An oasis even for the youngest

The pastoral ministry
for the migrants of Jerusalem for Latins and the patriarchal vicar for
Hebrew-speaking Catholic faithful have been mobilized in order to allow even
the little 3-year-old children of refugees and asylum seekers to be tended to
in a dignified way while their parents are at work. 

The State of Israel
guarantees the children of refugees access to public schools, but there are no
structures in the country that are able to accommodate children under three.
The website of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem for Latins indicates that this
lack has given rise in recent years to the “wild growth of “makeshift
preschools, where dozens of little ones are kept in crowded apartments and in
horrendous sanitary conditions. In 2015 five children died in just one of these
preschools, referred to as “children’s garages.

In Jerusalem, thanks to the pastoral ministry for
migrants, a preschool based on the classic model hosts 22 children, while in
Tel Aviv the vast demand has led Fr David Neuhaus, patriarchal vicar for
Hebrew-speaking Catholics, to study a more articulated system of accommodation.
In cooperation with a non-governmental organization active in the sector, the
Notre-Dame de Valeur centre (a veritable oasis for migrants which opened in
February 2015 south of Tel Aviv) is suited to host every day – there in the St Joseph house and in two
rented apartments in the surrounding area – 52 children from Eritrea, the
Philippines, Sudan, India and Sri Lanka. They are cared for daily from 7 am to
6 pm by migrant women, each of whom is responsible for six children. Two
autistic children and another afflicted with trisomy 21 receive special care.
Two new apartments will soon be able to accommodate another 12 children.


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