When talking about a home, what do you mean? Four walls and a roof, the love surrounding you, concern, support. What does home mean?

I asked this question more than once as a child. I often longed for a hug, for my parents to care. I begged them to notice I was there. But when you lose your path, providing for basic needs is challenging. After years when my siblings and my house were a ruin with four walls, everything that could be was destroyed, and there was no trace of a family in all that chaos, only those four walls remained standing, and within them, one giant void.

When you’re stripped of hope and confidence and left with nothing to hold on to, you realize you are alone in this world. You know that dreams of sanity are unattainable. When you’re in survival mode, goals change, life changes, you no longer allow yourself to be a child. You’re imprisoned in a young body, but your soul has matured, learned the essence of life in the flesh. Your belief in “the system” of a family no longer exists. You realize you’re nobody’s kid. And this realization that no one really wants you wakes you up, makes you take command, makes you know it is surviving or die. You get nerves of steel and grow protective thorns. That’s how you live, knowing, understanding, looking at the four walls closing in on you.

I came to the village an eleven-year-old girl, who had already been through cancer, lost an eye, and was full of internal scars indicating the hell she had gone through. However, only the growing wound in her stomach told of what was inside her — hunger, fear, hatred, pleading, an array of emotions. Yes, it turns out hunger is an existential need. Without it, you can not exist. You can survive curses, beatings, and disease, but hunger kills you. It causes your body to shrink until you no longer have the strength to carry yourself on.

I remember paradise, the day we came to see the village. I remember thinking, what are they going to sell us? What is this magical disguise hiding?

I have already said that faith has long since abandoned me. So I looked for a catch, and to be honest, I found it. My adjustment difficulties lasted a long time. It took me a while to understand my new life. I slowly realized that you eat every day, that you don’t have to steal food, that it is just there. All you have to do is reach out and take a slice. Old habits die hard. I remember storing bread crumbs for times of need, as no one promised me what tomorrow would bring. That’s how it is when the ground drops beneath your feet. You learn fast to find the balance. Otherwise, you’re on the wrong side of the statistics. 

This place, Kfar Neradim, let me breathe. To find myself in all this chaos called life. To understand that I am allowed to make my voice heard and that someone is taking care of my basic needs and even more – classes, clothing budget, tutoring, a psychologist. With this concern, they gave me a chance for a future. The possibility of growing up and becoming a vital, functioning person who contributes to society, believes in herself, builds a home, starts a family, guards it fiercely because she knows the sanctity of the family, remembers where she came from, and where her real home is. My home is Neradim Village. It is the place that made me believe in myself, which helped me in the days when darkness was around me, made me burst into the light, hold on to it and believe that tomorrow would come, and bring new life into the world.

This place has been a home for children, and I must attest that working with children like us is not easy. Each of us carries a sack of dust from our old life on our back. We have nothing left to hold onto but our body, which survives all the pain the world has offered us. This place gives us hope, restores our faith, and gives us a future. All a child needs is one adult to believe in them, this is a saying from distant and challenging times, and to these children, these difficult days are here and now. Today you understand this burden and what it entails. Fundraising is a means to a higher purpose, a future for children to grow up and be like you. People who care about those around them. People who believe in themselves and family.

Look at me. I’m proof that this place saves lives. Today I’m 45 years old, and I’ve been married for 25 years, and I am a mother of three. I’m about to publish my first book, and I believe in dreams.

Believe. Anything is possible when providing a future.

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