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Israel's Wonderland - Our visit to a very unique place

This week we’ve been traveling to the north visiting Ceasarea, Nazareth, Tiberias,The Jordan River, The Sea of Galiea, The AHAVA Village and a beautiful Holy garden in the city of Haifa. Throughout our adventure we have learned and enjoyed the sites engaging in both a historical and spiritual journey. 

The place that touched our souls the most was the AHAVA Village, an utopic village built with love and a wonderful philosophy that has left us breathless. They have managed to create a community with foster families that join voluntarily and decide to become the foster parents of kids in youth at risk and provide them with love, support and strength to have them continue walking on the right path.

These families choose to be there and “adopt” 13 children at a time. They receive a salary and the mothers stay home to make sure they can provide kids with the attention and help they need. The father usually goes to work, yet when he comes back has quality time with the children. The fact that there are families out there who choose to do this wonderful yet difficult task is moving, It must be hard enough to be the parents of your own children, but the parents of 13 children at risk? Voluntarily? It´s heart warming.

Besides the foster families they have other projects such as Crisis intervention in which kids that have a critical situation at home need to join the program immediately, they find them a place and provide them with love and care. The kids remain in the program for approximately 3 months where the staff investigates the situation at home, integrate the child to their educational system and therapies including animal assistance therapy which is a new kind of intervention for us all.

AHAVA also has a school where they take some of the children in youth at risk including children with learning disabilities. They keep the groups small and the teacher counts with an assistant in the classroom that can take care of the ones with learning difficulties. The aim of the teachers isn´t only to educate, but also to love and create a bond with the kids. Their program is dynamic, practical and interactive and entails many more projects like the care of the soldiers that return after their 2 year duty and have no place to go to.

AHAVA has left with a very sweet taste of what can be achieved as an alternative for the ones at risk. It has motivated us and inspired us to look within ourselves and even question how much more can we do, how much more can we create, build and promote in order to achieve something similar in our countries according to our necessities. It has been a surreal adventure to learn from the hearts of the people who lead the project, we have left a little piece of AHAVA within ourselves, hearts and passion for education.

By: Vida, Karoline and Cristina - Youth at Risk training course, 2014