Alon Eshed is a loving, charming, and very high-functioning autistic 14 year old. He needs to find a home for people like him by the time he turns 20. This house is called a Home for Life, and the problem Alon's family is facing is its cost: NIS 10 million.
"The state of Israel takes care of everything the moment the children get into the house," say Alon's parents , Michal and David, "but it does not help us build the house."
Michal and David have fallen into the cracks when it comes to funding by associations for autistic children. Existing associations such as Alut have no more funding left to help families like Alon’s.
“Alon will not live at home for the rest of his life,” Michal said. “When we grow older, when he grows older, it’s easier for him to move to a house inhabited by people like him.”
The archaic term autism is recognized today as Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and every child diagnosed with ASD has a varying social and cognitive capacity along the spectrum.
According to Michal, some autistic kids can behave almost normal until something gets out of routine, and then they can get very anxious. If Alon is not prepared for a change in what he knows, he can get so stressed that he can throw up.
Although Alon’s function is considered medium-high, he will still need tight supervision for the rest of his life.
With no other choices left, Michal and David started their own association of eight families with autistic children, and have spent the last month coordinating volunteers over 40 malls across the country in a fundraising project to build a home for life.
“This is only the first step,” David said. “We have three, maybe four years to raise these NIS 10 million. We will make other projects to raise more money. If we will not help ourselves, no one will.”