After almost two months of working under emergency conditions and sensitively adapting SHEKEL programs to meet the urgent requirements of the coronavirus crisis, SHEKEL is now in the careful process of readapting its programs as coronavirus restrictions are rolled back.
Today, SHEKEL’s ‘living in the general community’ housing program staff continue to work 24/7 serving hundreds of residents, many of whom have not yet been authorized to go back to work or to their day centers. SHEKEL’s housing teams are working with great dedication and creativity, in partnership with SHEKEL College’s enrichment program and our psychological services staff, to ensure residents an enriching and empowering experience. For many residents, separation from their loving families has been extremely distressing, as it has been for the families. As such, the recent announcement from the ministries of health and welfare, permitting family visits and allowing residents to leave their apartments, came as a true relief and cause for celebration.
SHEKEL’s vocational rehabilitation centers have now reopened and residents are gradually returning to work both at the centers and in the free market. Likewise, SHEKEL’s afternoon programs in special education schools are gradually reopening, as are various cultural and social clubs for adults.
The corona virus has been particularly difficult for people with disabilities and the Toni Eliashar SHEKEL Therapeutic Center continues to operate a national hotline for mental health consultation and assistance. Meanwhile, the center’s therapeutic services which were closed down at the beginning of the crisis, are now starting to operate again.
The new reality has generated heavy unforeseen costs that have severely challenged us financially. They include running costs for extra staff; expenses for increased food provisions; purchase of specialized equipment, and costs involved in operating vital corona-related programs. All this is creating a serious financial burden at a time when income from the sale of SHEKEL services and products has been frozen, and our fiscally valuable voluntary force has been substantially reduced. As a result, donations are critical for purchasing protective gear for staff, as well as technical appliances required for operating crucial programs that provide support and assistance intended to ensure the health and safety of the people in our care.
Wishing everyone good health and a quick safe return to pre-coronavirus life