Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What happened after the seizures

Last year's Malki Foundation article about Chaim (but Chaim
is not his real name, and this picture does not show him or his mother)
When we last wrote about 8 year-old Chaim [here], he was unable to move after a series of seizures left him incapacitated. Life has never been free of challenges for this beautiful child who was born with Cerebral Palsy, autism and epilepsy. 

This week, Chaim's mother called the Malki Foundation office in Jerusalem. She sounded - in the words one of our staff members - ecstatic. She told us about his extraordinary progress.  

After almost a year of intensive therapy through the Malki Foundation's Therapies at Home program, Chaim's mother said he is now able to hold a bottle in his hands and drink unaided. He is also crawling. What's more, she said, with the help of a walker, Chaim is now even able to take a few steps. The future is looking a lot better!

We are all so happy to hear about Chaim's progress. We would like to thank our donors for making this happen. You provided the funding for the paramedical therapies that are bringing back Chaim's independence to him. Those, and the love and constant devotion of his family.

A reminder that the Malki Foundation's therapy programs have enabled many thousands of therapy sessions for families in Israel whose needs are nominally met via the conventional government channels or in the framework of their child's education. None of these therapy sessions would have happened if the families had to rely only what the government and the health funds provide. Our work makes a positive difference for hundreds of families and the children with special needs whom they love. 

(Though the facts and figures in our blog posts and promotional materials are always true and correct, the children's names and photos used in these published file reports are always fictitious in order to protect the privacy of the child and the family.)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

From our files | Two-year-old Ido and his challenges

A representative image; this is not Ido and Ido is not the real
name of the child profiled in this report
Ido was born with serious development delays, with birth defects and with respiratory difficulties.

Now a smiley, friendly two-year-old boy, he lives with his parents and three siblings in Israel's northern-most coastal city, Nahariya.

Because of digestion and motor issues, Ido must eat only pureed foods and in small amounts. He has to be woken twice each night to eat so that his nutritional requirements are met. 

His breathing is aided by a tracheotomy tube like the one you see in the photo above.

Starting in September 2017, Ido has been getting speech therapy and physiotherapy at home through the Malki Foundation's Therapies at Home program. The physiotherapist, selected always by his parents as a matter of our policy, is focusing on helping him sit up straight (did we mention he is grappling with scoliosis?), improve his movement by enhancing his crawling skills, and advancing his ability to play and to communicate.

Ido’s mother called the Malki Foundation office in Jerusalem recently to say thank you. She mentioned how he has begun crawling, and now says a few words. When Ido first said “Abba” (daddy in Hebrew), the family encountered a deeply emotional moment. 

Ido's mother told us that the support her family gets from the Malki Foundation does more than simply enable therapy sessions that would otherwise put a great strain on the family's already-stretched resources. It gives her the physical, mental and - yes - economic strength to help her son through the multiple challenges he faces daily on the road to eventual greater independence.

The Malki Foundation's therapy programs have enabled many thousands of therapy sessions for families in Israel whose needs are nominally met via the conventional government channels or in the framework of their child's education. None of these therapy sessions would have happened if the families had to rely only what the government and the health funds provide. Our work makes a positive difference for hundreds of families and the children with special needs whom they love. 

(Though the facts and figures are always true and correct, children's names and photos used in these published file reports are always fictitious in order to protect the privacy of the child and the family.)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

UPDATE: Riding for a fine cause

Today's cycling route
A Sunday follow-up to Friday's post "Riding for a fine cause in Melbourne's wintery streets" about a terrific initiative, the Great Jerusalem Charity Bike Ride.

This update just in from the remarkable Rabbi Ian Goodhardt:
G'Day to you,
The 2018 Bike Ride has come and gone and my bike is looking forward to a well deserved rest lasting many months.
In the event the weather could not have been better, with a cool breeze and bright sunshine for most of the way. On a whim I turned off to explore the Marybyrnong River Trail and what a delight it turned out to be. Quite beautiful. I was tempted to go on to Essendon, but turned back when I reckoned I had reached the halfway point, and then realized I had been riding with the wind at my back since setting off and the way home was going to be a bit tougher going. All went well until, with just under 4km to go disaster struck. A puncture! (Now I know how Bottas feels!) My darling wife picked me up and after a quick change of inner tube I was able to complete the remaining k's.
So - all in all a lovely ride today. Thank you so much to everyone who made a donation. WIth online and offline donations combined the total is $6,848, which is one my higher total over the years, so thank you all very much for contributing.
Great thanks to Rabbi Goodhardt and to all those who helped provide the wind at his back! And happy Yom Yerushalayim to all.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Meet one of our program therapists: Ahmad on wheels

Ahmad Mutlaq is one of the heroes of our Therapists on Wheels program.
This photo is not from Beer Sheva.
People who haven't heard of the Malki Foundation before often tell us how surprised they are to hear about some of the work we do for families raising a child with usually-complex special needs.

Our Therapists on Wheels program is a good example. It was created because we knew about families living in Israel's periphery communities - the far north and the far south of our small country. Too often, when those families bring a child back home from (sometimes prolonged) hospitalization or institutionalization and need the services of a good local therapist, the challenge can be enormous. 

That's because Israel has far too few therapists serving families in the periphery and not much seems to be getting done to fix the chronic problem.

Since 2011, with our tiny but growing resource base, we have been addressing the problem the best way we can. We plan to keep doing this, and growing the program commensurate with our finances, while the government decides what it's going to do about this very serious problem. Meanwhile, to learn a bit more, there's background here expanding on the origins and mission of (to use its full name) the Zlata Hersch Memorial Therapists on Wheels Program. To be clear, it delivers something unique - and uniquely valuable and appreciated - to families who need our service.

What makes Therapists on Wheels really special is, of course, the professionals who provide the service. Ahmad Mutlaq is an excellent example of what we mean. Over on the Malki Foundation's Facebook pages [here], there's this brief and warm portrait which we think readers of our blog will enjoy:
A highly trained, kind-hearted physiotherapist from a village called Kfar Bi’ina near Karmiel in northern Israel, Ahmad is currently living in Be’er Sheva so he can help the many children in the south who need physiotherapy. 
When asked about what he likes most about his job, Ahmed spoke about the progress he sees in the children that he works with. He said “Any progress, no matter how big or small, gives me the best feeling in the world” and reminds him why he decided to be a physiotherapist in the first place. 
If he doesn’t see progress, he asks himself “why didn’t it work?” in order to expand his mind and try to think about the situation in other ways. 
Despite all his hours of additional training and certifications (autism, baby massage, acupuncture, personal training), Ahmed feels that he still has so much to learn. He is planning on starting a master’s degree in an area related to physiotherapy for children. Ahmed has worked in clinics in Israel and Germany and also provides physical therapy for special education kindergartens run by Israel's Education Ministry. When he is not working, he loves to travel and has traveled all over Europe and Israel. 
Ahmad is currently treating two ultra-Orthodox Jewish children in Arad through our Therapists on Wheels program. One is Leah, a 4 year-old with a syndrome that causes weak muscle tone, failure to thrive and severe intellectual disability. The other is Daniel, a 3 year-old with severe neurological damage resulting from bacterial meningitis, epilepsy, quadriplegia, and other neurological and physical issues. 
Both sets of parents speak emphatically about Ahmad's compassion, dedication and professionalism. And we couldn’t be happier with his professionalism and his work with the children. 
Thank you Ahmad for all that you give! [This post originally appeared in the Malki Foundation Facebook page here.]
Most of the comments posted on Facebook when this first appeared this week are so encouraging, we felt you would want to see them.

We plan to tell you about some of our other therapist heroes in the coming weeks.

Riding for a fine cause in Melbourne's wintery streets

Image Source
Australia's Rabbi Ian Goodhardt - a more fitting surname would be hard to imagine - is one of the Malki Foundation's heroes.

With considerable pleasure, we have written here in past years (see "Cycling for Jerusalem - and for Israel's children with special needs" and "The Great Jerusalem Charity Bike Ride 2016: Mission accomplished") of his personal campaign to connect the joy of Jerusalem's reunification with charitable fund-raising for good causes.

His focus has been, as his personal webpage [here] explains
to aid research and support for those with Multiple Sclerosis and to aid Keren Malki, which supports children with special needs... Keren Malki was set up to perpetuate the memory of Malki Roth z"l who was murdered in Jerusalem in 2001. It is a non-political, non-sectarian, not-for-profit organization that honours the tragically short life of a girl dedicated to bringing happiness and support into the lives of special-needs children by supplying equipment and support for them. Please click here to find out more. Please click here to sponsor me and support Keren Malki.
This weekend, in the spirit of his past great and successful efforts, Rabbi Goodhardt will be riding his bike 51 kilometres to celebrate 51 years since the reunification of Jerusalem. On his MyCause page he explains:
As I have done in the past, I am dedicating the ride to the work of the Malki Foundation for children with disabilities in Israel... Please support me with this important cause - the money raised will help 5 children with disabilities receive much needed paramedical therapies for a whole year... All donations above $2 are tax deductible. Please give generously.
The weather forecast for this weekend in Melbourne, where winter is just getting underway, is not too bright [check it out here]. And that's just one of the challenges facing Rabbi Goodhardt's Great Jerusalem Charity Bike Ride.

But to judge from how well his efforts have gone in past years, there's going to be some distinct brightness emanating from Australia's south and reaching all the way to several homes in Israel where the generosity of his supporters will be doing some serious good.

We hope you will be among them. (Click here to contribute your donation.) Best of luck, Reb Ian!

Monday, April 9, 2018

What two guys working from a shed can do

Jennifer Shaw Racz, the Malki Foundation's development specialist here in Jerusalem, writes:

I just spent all morning watching videos and reading about Team UnLimbited, an AMAZING organization, formed by Stephen Robert Davies and Drew Murray, which makes customized arms and hands for children from a nano printer FOR FREE. Children can request all different colors and designs (even Harry Potter!) The materials themselves cost less than 30 GBP.

It all started when Steven was looking for a better prosthetic for himself and came together to Drew to design one. They produce the limbs in a backyard shed and send them out. Their design has been used to help kids around the world. 

Watch the kids' faces when they get the arm and use it for the first time. 

We salute you Team UnLimbited and invite you to Israel...  Maybe we can find some possible collaboration opportunities.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Remembering Alisa

Today, the tenth day of the Hebrew calendar month of Nisan, is the yahrzeit of Alisa Michelle Flatow z"l.

Alisa, a student at Frisch School in Paramus NJ and then at Brandeis University, was in Israel during her 1995 spring semester participating in a Jewish studies program at the Nishmat learning center in Jerusalem. She was 20, and on her way to spend a few pre-Passover beach-side days in Gush Katif.

As her father Stephen describes it, she never reached her destination:
because outside the gates of the Jewish community of Kfar Darom a van was waiting. The driver saw the approaching bus, jammed his foot on the gas pedal, rammed the side of the bus, and detonated a bomb that took eight lives and injured more than 40.
Like Malki Roth z"l, her family has built a legacy of good out of their tragedy. And like Malki, who she was as a person has impacted thousands of lives. 

Please take a moment to watch the video below and do something positive in Alisa's memory.

May her soul be bound up in the bond of life.