The first therapeutic-nursing day center for patients over 21 years old is opening in Kfar Kassem – a majority-Arab town in central Israel of over 25,000. Chimes Israel – a nonprofit that assists people with disabilities – will operate the center.
Fifty participants will be ready to start by the time the center is inaugurated.
For decades, residents of Kfar Kassem have had to commute to centers in nearby cities for care – or worse, they were left without any care at all. "I have been a teacher for 17 years," said Naamat Issa, a long-time educator who will run the new center. "I always felt 'not enough' inside; a lot of schools opened but it was lacking. I wanted change, I wanted a challenge: to change the atmosphere and go big."
"I have two children with epilepsy in severe condition between the ages of 26 and 27… There were trips to Taibeh every day, there was a transfer from the municipality and there were a lot of problems with it,” said Kfar Kassem resident Zohir Badir, who was active for many years in efforts to bring this center to the town.
“I'm glad the children will be in front of my eyes, close to me so we can run if something happens to the child, and he will be next to us."
Chimes Israel – in tandem with the Kfar Kassem Municipality, Keren Shalem, Social Security (Bituach Leumi), the Simpsis Foundation, The Philip Morris Foundation and Israel’s Estate Committee – invested over NIS 8 million into development of the center.
"I have two daughters with intellectual and mobility disabilities, confined to bed, unable to do anything," Kfar Kassem resident and mother of two Amal Taha welcomes the opening of the center. "My daughters have beautiful eyes but they do not see. In other settings that did not fit them we were unfortunately not even sent to a bed, or a suitable place to change a diaper. As a mother who knows what to get for my daughters in such settings I was angry, shouting and very involved with the town welfare department.
“Now that there is a framework in the village I am quiet – that we can come every day to the framework and get everything we need. We accept our daughters wholeheartedly and are not ashamed of them," Taha declared. "They are still angels and that is what we have."
Chimes Israel is modeled after Chimes Baltimore MD, which helps people with special needs to gain as much independence as possible and reach their maximum potential. They have worked since 1990 to improve the quality of life and integration of people with disabilities in the community. Chimes operates treatment centers for nursing graduates aged 21 and over and manages six rehabilitative work centers and assistance programs for graduates meant to integrate participants into the labor market.
“The establishment of another center in Arab society is in line with one of the basic principles in our mission to provide services to all sections of the population without racial or religious differences,” said George Zimmerman, CEO of Chimes Israel.
“We are proud to address the entire country in general and the Arab sector in particular and we will continue to accompany our service recipients and their families and march with them to success."