Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Youth

Photo: Ira Shraberman

The ASSAF Youth Club is a multi-year extra-curriculum project, designed to meet the needs of youths from within the asylum-seeking communities in Israel. The youth club operates two evenings a week, and provides a supportive, welcoming and safe environment to about 80 kids and teenagers, aged 9-19 years.

In addition to the common difficulties faced by adolescents, asylum-seeker youths struggle with language difficulties, questions of identity, and various challenges deriving from their experiences of forced migration, loss and trauma. At our youth club, they find a haven of stability and support, a place where they can belong, enjoy each other’s company and keep away from the dangers of the street.

The youth club is a safe space, which enables the kids and teenagers to share their thoughts and personal stories, their hopes for the future and their particular, unique concerns as asylum-seekers in Israel; the youths are able to raise all the difficult feelings and questions that emerge from their situation, including fears of deportation and incarceration -- and cope with them better, with the support of the staff and their counterparts.

The youths enjoy a communal dinner, do crafts and artwork, study, do their homework, and play together. During the summer vacation from school, they enjoy additional fun activities and field trips.

The youth club staff is comprised of a professional coordinator, as well as of Israeli and asylum-seeking volunteers who undergo training and receive professional guidance throughout their work period.