(photo credit: Courtesy)
The NGO ELEM, which aims at assisting youth at risk in Israel, will be holding
its nationwide annual flag fund-raising drive in celebration of Independence Day
As ELEM marks its 30th anniversary, it has partnered with the
fund-raising organization Igul Letova to invite the public to raise money for
the NGO by ordering their credit card companies to round their purchases up by a
few cents each time they buy something. The added amount, which comes to an
average of 4 NIS a month, then goes to ELEM.
The flag operation varies
each year. In one of the most publicized ones, three years ago ELEM installed a
lit-up Israeli flag on the facade of one of the Azrieli buildings in Tel Aviv.
In order to donate money, the public sent SMS messages to an indicated number,
which would light up a piece of the flag.
“It gives people a chance to
donate a very small amount, but it adds up,” executive director of the NGO Efrat
Shaprut told The Jerusalem Post
The organization, which
operates in approximately 40 towns across the country, provides solutions to
youth in distress in order to improve their life conditions and help them find
their place back in society as contributing citizens.
ELEM runs a number
of different programs, including, among others: a network of information and
counseling centers for youth; multicultural programs for youth from various
sectors of society; a program for the prevention and treatment of sexual
violence among children and youth, as well as specific solutions for girls at
risk; an employment rehabilitation and mentoring program for juvenile
delinquents and day centers for homeless young adults.
Shaprut explained, each night 15 teams of volunteers patrol in over 20 cities to
help youth in danger.
“We are not waiting for them to come to us; we go
to them,” she said. “We go to places where young people go, like parks or night
clubs. We try to be relevant to their needs and their
Shaprut, who is a professional lawyer, got involved with the
organization some 13 years ago, as she felt unsatisfied with her career choice
and decided to go into the social sector.
“I feel very proud to be
heading this organization,” she said. “It’s about taking young people who are at
a very low place and have lost hope and pulling them back up, making them feel
meaningful to themselves, making them believe in themselves.”
to Shaprut, in 90 of the cases encountered, the teenagers have difficult
relationships with their parents, which she sees as the “source of most
“As a mother I realized how important and meaningful this
relationship is,” she told the Post. “I have difficulties like everyone else,
but working with these teens really puts things in proportions. I really feel I
have gained something from doing this.”
ELEM’s flag operation began a few
weeks ago and will continue throughout the year. The organization has launched a
nationwide campaign to encourage Israelis to donate, but also hopes to attract
funding from the business sector, which, according to Shaprut, has been a
growing source of donations over the past few years.