Providing Opportunities to Physically Challenged Jewish Children in Russia
Chamah embarked on a new project to include and give physically challenged children the opportunity to learn and live in an enviorment catered to their capacities. Currently, 50 disabled children are part of this experience, where they are provided with special medical care and necessary therapy for their continued development, in a nurturing environment.
Poverty is rampant in Russia, but the most vulnerable are the disabled. Because of the low income parents desperately witness growing obstacles to the development of their young children, as they are not able to provide them with the qualified medical care, proper education and therapeutic services they need to maximize their abilities.
The program provides physically challenged children equal opportunities to benefit from its educational activities also enabling them to join mainstream classes of non-disabled peers and build Jewish identity. Physically challenged children are given special physical therapy sessions, extremely important for those with orthopedic and spinal problems.
A psychologist and speech therapist are also available on the premises for one-on-one sessions with the children and consultations with the parents. Special preventive medical care, including vitamin therapy, is also provided to these children. A Sunday school session for these children provides additional time for therapeutic services.
The students have classes in Hebrew, English, Jewish tradition, art, computer technology, and swimming, with its own pool on the premises. It provides hot, nutritious meals, including vitamin-rich fresh vegetables, fruit, and juices. The program places special emphasis on the cultivation of Jewish identity, with celebrations of Jewish holidays and a Jewish dance ensemble and theater workshop. A special “Jewish Weekend” family club extends the educational experience to the children’s parents or guardians.
Gan Chamah practices a method of individually attending to the needs of physically challenged students, which has proven to be successful in:
- Enabling quicker adaptation of the child to the school environment;
- Facilitating the academic achievement of the children;
- Promoting improved physical development.