Thank you for the many calls and e-mails expressing interest and concern in what is happening with the autistic children in Be'er Sheva and the South of Israel. We promised to update you and we wish to keep this promise. The staff at the Village for autistic children in Be'er Sheva has demonstrated remarkable resilience and is doing its best to handle the often-sounded sirens and the falling of rockets.
The number of staff was increased in order to help the residents of the Village as best as possible cope with the fear and the required changes in the routine. As you may already know, we managed to raise the necessary funds and shelter a number of workshops at the Occupational Center of the Village. These sheltered workshops now enable the residents of the Village and the other autistic people that come from their homes to work at the Occupational Center to continue their daily routine, as much as possible. ALUT operates two additional ‘Homes for Life’ in Be'er Sheva for young adults with autism. Unfortunately, these ‘Homes’ are in rented houses that do not include shelters. Thus, when Operation "Tzuk Eitan" began, we moved the tenants of these ‘Homes for Life’ to the Village so that they will be able to conduct their daily life routine in a sheltered environment. In the mornings they work at the Occupational Center and at night they sleep in the sheltered workshops on mattresses on the floor, as can be seen in the attached photos.
These conditions are not easy for these young adults, but at least we know that they are protected should a rocket fall. At the Homes for Life in the Village the low functioning autistic tenants sleep in the small shelter that is in each Home (see the attached photos).
The autistic members with a higher level of functioning that can run (always together with a staff member) to a farther shelter in the middle of the night continue to sleep in their own beds. In the near future we are planning to build four additional Homes for Life in the Village. Even before Operation "Tzuk Eitan" began we commenced a fund raising campaign for building four big shelters in the new Homes. Now the importance of these shelters is fully evident … All summer camps that are in the areas “under-fire” were cancelled and the children have been staying at home. In the Village, we are operating a daily activity center for the staff's children so that the staff can come to work. ALUT has enlarged its staff at each of its ‘Homes for Life’ throughout the country. We are in constant communication and after each siren sounds in the different regions of the country, the staff of each ‘Home for Life’ in the relevant area updates ALUT's Headquarters about the tenants' emotional and physical condition and the state of the house after the rocket attack.
ALUT Family centers
ALUT's staff in all our family centers around the country call the families with an autistic child and check how they are managing with the security situation and if they need any assistance. Families from the south who wish to travel to quieter areas to rest a bit are able to receive help. The Alut family-to-family hot line works every day and the feedback from the staff indicates that the families are overwhelmingly excited and grateful that someone cares and is interested in their difficulties. And in the end, that is what ALUT is all about.
Our dear friends, during these trying and difficult times, knowing that you care warms our hearts. We thank you for your support. Let's hope for a quick return to normal and quiet days.
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