• desert-shanti2The Desert Shanti project is currently being built in the south and due to open in July 2009. It comprises a multi-disciplinary village for youth at risk that will be operated according to the successful model of Shanti House in Tel Aviv, with the aim of providing a solution to the serious problem of youth at risk in Israel’s south and increasing the scope of Shanti House’s therapeutic tools.

    Warm home for youth at risk – 35-50 youths will live at Desert Shanti at any given time, from all of society’s strata and from all socio-economic levels, forced to leave their homes as a result of family difficulties, violence, abuse, neglect, etc.
    These boys and girls need an immediate roof over their heads and replacement family. They come from all over the country, but special emphasis will be given to locating and admitting youths from the south. The village will be both a temporary and long-term shelter and will help return youths to the circle of normative society – studies, work and army service.

    Located on ground belonging to the Ramat Negev Local Council, near Route 40 and covering an area of 540 dunams, 150 of which are used for building, the village will operate 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and will be a warm home and supporting framework to more than 1,000 youths each year. The village will place emphasis on environmental protection by using retrieved and reclaimed materials, recycled water and rubbish, and the possibility of using solar energy.

    Youths are welcomed at any time and can stay any length of time, from a few days to a few years. Bed and board and all personal needs are provided. After a thorough assessment of the new resident’s situation by the multidisciplinary team, the youth is accepted in one of the schools in the area for regular studies, according to skills and abilities. Participation in household chores is compulsory. All residents must respect the basic house rules: No drugs, no alcohol and no violence. For many the village will serve as last salvation before the descent into life on the streets.

    In the new facility, on-going therapy groups and workshops on non-conventional medicine will be part of the curriculum, as well as music, hikes in the desert, biblical studies and other therapeutic arts activities. Intensive drug prevention programs will be offered, along with workshops on the values of tolerance and developing interpersonal skills in an integrated multi-cultural atmosphere.

    Animal and Agriculture Therapies have proved to be vital and effective treatment tools for such youth. In addition a stable will be operated for therapeutic riding.

    A Hospitality Center will be established, within the campus to welcome youth groups from all over Israel and from abroad, for overnight stays in the peace and tranquility of the desert. This facility will allow the largest possible number of adolescents to experience their own uniqueness on personal, social and educative levels, as well as their differences towards others and their environment. Anger and rage management workshops provide opportunities to learn how to deal with life without violence and workshops for preventing drug and alcohol abuse, such as the 12 Steps, will be held.

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