Rocket-safe day care center opens in Sderot

WIZO-sponsored Kassam-proof day care center offers protection to 80 pre-schoolers.

kassams awesome 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
kassams awesome 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
WIZO, the Women's international Zionist organization, opened the country's first fully fortified, Kassam-proof day care center in Sderot last week, offering protection to 80 pre-schoolers. "We are still getting used to not having to rush down to the bomb shelter when there is an alert," Ziva Korsia, the center's director, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Wednesday. "When a siren sounds, we can just carry on with our activities." Korsia said the center, which is located in Sderot's Naot Rabin neighborhood and cares for children aged six months to four years, was needed given the daily rocket attacks from the nearby Gaza Strip. She said that over the last week, Sderot residents had gradually begun returning to their daily routines, and that many had gone back to work, making the new center even more necessary. Many other schools, including the Sapir College of Higher Education, are not protected from the Kassam attacks and classes are regularly disrupted by the attacks. "It is almost impossible for a center caring for small children to gather them up and run down to the bomb shelter when there is an attack," said Korsia, adding that several other day care centers in the town had opted to operate in bomb shelters fulltime. "Even our children are traumatized by the situation here," she said. "Many of them have been hurt physically or had their homes destroyed by the rockets. Parents here are very concerned about the effect this is having on their children." Korsia said that since the new facility opened last week, she had been inundated with requests from parents to admit their children to the fortified center. "It is heartbreaking, but we just don't have room for all of them," she said. Plans to build a rocket-proof center were set in motion nearly two years ago by a donation of $700,000 from Baruch and Ruth Rapoport of Switzerland, said World WIZO Executive Chairwoman Tova Ben-Dov. The new center has 40-centimeter thick steel walls, a reinforced roof and rocket-proof windows. Even the electricity and water supplies have been designed to give 100 percent protection against the daily attacks.