Initiative helps young October 7 survivors rejoin workforce

Ilana Kwartin credit: Lifaz Bar El
Ilana Kwartin credit: Lifaz Bar El

Rishpon Healing Space and Youth of Light have built a job training program in a supporting environment to rehabilitate the survivors of October 7. After the successful pilot project an expanded program will begin next month.

More than eight months have passed since the Hamas attack on the Gaza border settlements and the Nova Party festivalgoers, and for many the wounds from the traumatic experience are still far from healed. Among them are young people who face significant mental health and functional difficulties, which make it difficult for them to reintegrate into the job market.

To prevent these young individuals from falling into a cycle of dysfunction, dependence, and neediness, the Rishphon Healing Space and the Youth of Light Association have developed a special vocational training program for them. In the first stage, a pilot project was conducted for 14 of the Nova survivors, who worked in practical programs at the farm, in an inclusive and supportive environment, while participating in group and individual therapy.

Following the success of the pilot project, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Welfare and the National Insurance Institute, an expanded program will begin next month in which 50-100 participants will take part, and which will last between two months and six months, depending on their individual needs.

The program will include several components. In the first component, the young people will be employed in producing ceramics, candles and growing medicinal plants in sessions of 3-6 hours, with 2-5 sessions per week. The work, apart from providing a source of income, is rehabilitative, and promotes a gradual return to full functioning, according to the abilities and condition of the participants.

The second component includes group and individual therapeutic support from qualified therapists in order to process experiences that arise during work and thus cope with day-to-day difficulties. In the third component, the participants will take part in a 12-session skills workshop that will deal with setting goals, managing an agenda, dealing with successes and failures, persistence in achieving goals, managing time and emotions, and more.

After that, the program team will jointly build with each participant a personalized "getting back on track" plan, focused on resuming the routine of life and optimal functioning.

"To rise from the ruins"

Rishpon Healing Space CEO Dr. Ilana Kwartin says, "After the traumatic experience and the initial survival stage, there comes an intermediate stage where the person who experienced the trauma strives to gradually resume their routine.

"This is the stage where we aim to integrate the occupational training, which is another step in the long journey of growing from the trauma, and returning to the world and to the point where the participants were before their lives were taken from them. We make this stage possible for the participants of the program on their journey."

Youth of Light Director of Operations Mali Kanias says that during the pilot period, she encountered, "Difficult and complex stories, but on the other hand, we got to know greatness of mind and miraculous abilities to rise from the ruins, and rebuild. It is a privilege to take part in the program."

Rishphon Healing Space is a therapeutic space dedicated to growth from personal and collective trauma. It was established in response to an unprecedented national emergency that highlighted the inaccessibility and limited resources of Israel's health system in light of the increase in demand for mental health services. Since October 7th, Healing Space has welcomed over 3,500 survivors and their families, 4,800 police officers and soldiers who were on the front lines, 120 bereaved families, and more. The space currently operates approximately 10 different programs, each tailored to diverse populations with specific goals and treatments.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on June 23, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Ilana Kwartin credit: Lifaz Bar El
Ilana Kwartin credit: Lifaz Bar El
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