Tens of thousands of children across Israel wake up and go to sleep in dilapidated homes, with dangerous electrical wires alongside their beds, crumbling walls, broken kitchens, dysfunctional bathrooms, or leaky roofs. They never bring friends home.
With open hearts and expertly trained hands, Tenufa Bakehila’s professional work teams are making urgent and vital repairs, renewing homes, and transforming the lives of hundreds of families every year.
"Every time we make an urgent home repair and restore the home of a young family with children, we know we are also restoring their dignity and self-esteem. When children grow up believing in themselves, they will become givers - to their families, their communities, and even beyond." This is what motivates Gabi Nachmani, Founder and Director of Tenufa Bakehila-Building Hope, to want to change the lives of more and more worthy families.
Tenufa Bakehila-Building Hope is the only large-scale, non-profit organization in Israel providing major home repairs for deserving families – absolutely free of charge.
Every day Tenufa Bakehila is transforming run-down, dysfunctional homes into places of dignity and pride for despairing young families, for elderly and for Holocaust survivors in need. With teams working in 20 cities throughout Israel, Tenufa has repaired over 7,500 homes to date. Last year, we empowered over 800 additional Israeli children with confidence to develop, learn, grow and look forward to a brighter future.
"My heart was breaking every day, knowing that my children were living with the shame of a dilapidated home." For 12 years, Sara, an Ethiopian Israeli single mother of six, was living with her children in a home with a rotted kitchen and no running hot water. They slept on thin mattresses on the cold tile floor. With no closets, they stored their clothing in garbage bags piled in a corner. Tenufa Bakehila dispatched their specially trained social worker and professional repair team to transform Sara’s home. The repair team replaced the rotted kitchen cabinets, installed a working shower, repaired the cracked, peeling walls, and arranged for a donation of brand new beds, mattresses, and closets for the entire family. “Your work was life-saving”, Sara said, teary-eyed, when the repairs were finished.
Many of Tenufa’s professional repair people come from similar backgrounds as the families and the children they help. They are eager to make a difference in the children’s lives.
“At first they won’t make eye contact with us,” says Daniel, a talented, fun-loving Tenufa repairman, "but we do our best to engage and encourage the children as we work. These kids are used to doing everything they can to hide from their peers the way they live. They sleep in moldy rooms, often without doors for privacy. Sometimes even the bathrooms have no door. While we’re working to transform their home, we’re also witnessing their deepest shame.” Daniel shares that he grew up in a dilapidated home in Israel's periphery. He knows what it’s like to feel embarrassment and despair as a young child. “My immigrant parents did their best, but could never provide us with a functional or even a safe home. I love seeing the smiles on the faces of the parents, and especially the children, after we repair their home. It is my greatest joy to know that I am playing a role in giving them a chance for a brighter future.”
Too often, poverty carries over from one generation to the next. The mission of Tenufa Bakehila is to help each family break the cycle of poverty by enabling them to grow up in a safe, respectable home, from which they can feel proud to venture out into the world, to invite others in, to build confidence and positively impact the lives of others.
Gabi Nachmani: "There are tens of thousands more families who are living for years without hot running water, with broken windows and moldy walls. These children are the future generation of Israel. The sooner we can reach these families, the greater the chances that they will join the ranks of those who will contribute to advancing the futures of others like themselves."
Please partner with us in wiping out the worst cases of housing poverty across Israel, and investing wonderful, young, deserving families with renewed hope in their future.
Tenufa Bakehila-Building Hope is funded entirely by donations.
Make your donation today at: Tenufa Bakehila or by phone at 02-679-3491.
This article was written in cooperation with Tenufa Bakehila