- Over 200,000 women in Israel and half-a-million children are exposed to domestic violence over a one year period
- There are 13 shelters for battered women and their children throughout Israel
- Shelters treat Arabs and Jews, religious and secular, new immigrants and native Israelis
- Women in the shelters come with their children who range in age from newborns to teens
- Many of these children are themselves victims of abuse. As a result, they suffer from low self-esteem, behavioral problems and learning difficulties.
- The women and children cannot leave the shelters due to the danger of being seen by their predators and their sense of confinement and deprivation is only intensified.
LOTEM has created the Mother Nature program in response to the overwhelming need to provide battered women and their children with therapeutic and recreational outings in the natural shelter and tranquility of nature. Groups of women and children from each of the 13 shelters for victims of domestic violence participate in empowering outings over the year that emphasize self-esteem, independence and trust. The women and children are able to safely leave their shelters and breathe in the fresh air without the fear of being hurt or seen.
Participants are led by LOTEM’s professional guides who have been trained to work with special-needs populations according to their different needs and sensitivities. Groups partake in different activities that connect them to their natural surroundings and enable them to take on leadership roles. Activities range from hiking challenges to field cooking to artistic workshops. Parenting skills are also taught. Through active participation in these outings, the women have the opportunity to leave the confines of their shelters together with their children and take part in activities that boost their confidence, reduce their fears and develop a stronger parent-child relationship.
Mother Nature addresses an important social issue in Israeli society. The women and children take the skills they develop on the outings and incorporate them into daily life. These skills help improve their overall well-being and eventually help them transition back into normal independent living so that they can rebuild their family lives.
The feedback we receive from these outings is always positive. The following remark from the Haifa Women’s Crisis Shelter highlights the importance of this program in the lives of the women and children:
“As you know, the women who come to the shelter together with their children are in actual danger for their well-being and lives. Most of their time is spent in the walls of the shelter. The outing that you organized offered the women and children the opportunity to breathe in the fresh air and gave them meaningful quality time together which they so needed.”
For additional information contact:
Alisa Bodner, Director of Development
US: (347) 236-3262