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First Center for Bedouin Children with Physical Disabilities Celebrates

beit-galgalim [1]The House of Wheels (Beit Hagalgalim) Celebrates the First Anniversary of the First Center for Bedouin Children with Physical Disabilities

The House of Wheels (Beit Hagalgaim), an organization that assists children and adults suffering from cerebral palsy, muscular atrophy and other disabling illnesses opened one year ago a new branch for Bedouin children in southern Israel. As part of their work in southern Israel, the nonprofit discovered that there is a serious gap in the services available to Bedouin children with physical disabilities as compared to those available to Jewish children. The need is particularly acute as due to inter-marriage, a relatively high percentage of Bedouin children suffer from a variety of genetic diseases and there are many children with physical disabilities. Disabled Bedouin children are often isolated and lack opportunities for social interaction during the afternoon hours; unlike their peers they are not busy playing soccer outside or busy helping their mothers at home. In order to attend social activities they need assistance. This is where the Bedouin branch of Beit Galgalim steps in providing afternoon activities for these children..

The Beit Galgalim model is dependent on volunteers. Finding volunteers in the Bedouin sector was a significant challenge as physically disabled children are not held in high esteem. Thanks to a group of Bedouin and Arab students, studying at Ben Gurion University, the house is now well staffed. Over the last year, trust has developed between the children, their families, and the staff, as well as with those with influence within Bedouin society.