Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Aid for Families

Family accompaniment project 

 

Background 

 

Many asylum-seeker families are now living in the Tel Aviv area. Among them are families where children have special needs, one-parent families, families with many children etc. It is difficult for a family to manage in a new and alien situation - there are many mouths to feed, limited access to health services, problems in integrating children into educational frameworks and in finding jobs for the parents. Moreover, they are refugees who in many cases suffer from trauma and anxiety as to what the future will bring for them. Often the myriad problems increase stress and undermine familial stability.

 

Rationale and aims

 

The project volunteers accompany families in order to help them cope with the realities of life in Israel and act to strengthen the family core. Volunteering efforts sometimes focus on one member of the family who needs special support. It should be pointed out that the volunteers establish first contact with a family only if the family requests it. The family, Supported by the Assaf team, is the main factor in deciding on aims, intervention methods and types of assistance.

 

Accompaniment - features

 

  • We construct an individual program for each family, adapted to its particular needs, it being understood that each and every family has its own unique dynamics and needs, and that any relationship established with a volunteer is unique.
  • Involvement with families is long-term (some of the volunteers have been accompanying families for two or three years) and continues as long as both sides wish.
  • Support and aid to families is based on reference to the family as the main factor determining the needs. The  family/individuals are the main authority, making choices and taking responsibility for their lives and decisions. The volunteers can help expand the family's knowhow, give advice or express opinions.
  • The relationship is essentially warm and friendly, with emphasis on personal ties and volunteers are available for physical and emotional accompaniment whenever the family members face various challenges.
  • Volunteers act as mediators and escorts in encounters with various Israeli authorities: medical services, schools, employment, humanitarian aid organizations, legal aid.
  • While accompanying the families, volunteers do everything possible to promote continued independent action on the family's part, and avoid insofar as possible fostering dependence.
  • Emphasis is placed on cultural sensitivity. Awareness of cultural gaps and differences, some of we can identify them and others not. Acceptance of the differences is vital even when we are unable to understand them or agree with them  .

Volunteers are given individual and group accompaniment and guidance by the Assaf team.