We at Afikim have been working already for a decade at helping and promoting children and youth at-risk in Israel and their families. What, actually, are children at-risk? A child at-risk is one who is growing up in a family that cannot respond to all his needs: emotional, economical, nutritional and educational. Economic difficulties are often the criteria in defining a child as “at-risk.” Such a child has a much lower starting point and he often lives in a social or geographical periphery, which dictates, already from the outset, greater difficulties, also in the field of education.
The Compulsory Education Law unites all children in all schools, but when the school bell rings, the great rifts between these children are exposed. While children from middle-high class families continue their activities in informal frameworks (afternoon care, extracurricular programs, extra lessons, etc.) children from lower socioeconomic families do not benefit from such options. The long afternoons are passed in idle boredom, with no adult supervision and the street luring them with infinite temptations. Moreover, due to a lack of support from home, many children suffer from weak learning skills and have accumulated educational gaps between themselves and their peers.
The parents are in a no less difficult situation. In many cases Afikim is dealing with single-parent families or families where one, or both, parents are unemployed, while some are immigrant families who have not integrated into the Israeli society. The lack of regular income makes it difficult for the parents to provide basic needs for their children. Frustrated, vulnerable and without any support, these parents are not able to provide vital emotional support to their children and serve as positive models for emulation.
This is where Afikim steps in. Through its educational and supportive programs for children and parents, Afikim strives to minimize the gaps and give equal opportunities and better starting points to these children, through education and knowledge.
Afikim gives children and their parents the tools they need to break out of the cycle of poverty and become independent, productive and contributing citizens.