Mother Nature: Hiking with Battered Women and Children/ Paula Friedland

Mothers and children from shelters for battered women

After more than 4 years at LOTEM, my favorite program is still Mother Nature, which offers outings in nature to women and children residing in shelters for battered women. Participants in this program include Arabs and Jews, religious and secular, new immigrants and native Israelis. Many have suffered years of abuse, first as children and then as adults. By offering them outings in nature, LOTEM provides these mothers and children with the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company in the shelter that only nature can provide. Most of all, it helps them realize that the world around them, a source of fear and cynicism, can be a place of renewal, sustenance and trust.

Last week I had the opportunity to accompany a group of mothers and children residing in a women’s shelter in the north of  Israel. Seeing the smiles on their faces, brought tears to my eyes. Nobody could know how much these families had suffered. For one day, they were able to strengthen their own physical, emotional and spiritual well-being through outdoor activities suited to their own very special needs.

 Written By: Paula Friedland, Director of Development, 2007-20012

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