This spring you are making a difference with ICEJ Canada!
We are raising funds to renovate the Therapeutic Petting Zoo at the Beit Singer Children's Orphanage. The zoo houses animals that help the children learn to love and care for another living creature. The children often have come from terrible circumstances, caring for the animals encourages them to improve their lives, to get past mental, physical abuse, and social situations that are beyond their control. The upgrade to the zoo is urgently needed at this time.
The children are guided by professional staff and a psychologist specializing in animal therapy. In addition, volunteers help take care of the animals. Most volunteers come from nearby communities or are doing their national service and are at Beit Singer for a period of two years or more. Many of them were children at risk themselves in the past, and some were even residents of Beit Singer itself.
Animal Assisted Therapy:
The integration of animal-assisted therapy into clinical psychology was first credited in 1962, to Boris Levinson, a child psychologist. Levinson published a paper in which he recounted his work with a withdrawn and non-communicative child, who had made significant progress when Levinson began using communication through a dog during the sessions. Having an animal present provided psychosocial benefits such as building rapport, increasing self-esteem and motivation and stress reduction. Levinson went on to research the field and found that a high percentage of children who were withdrawn and uncommunicative would interact positively with a presence of a dog (Levinson, 1969).
Target Population and Program Description:
The children of Beit Singer have been taken away from their homes, and some of them were also moved between institutions. They have little trust left for people around them, since they have experienced betrayal and abandonment by them time and again. For these children, a stable animal can be a source of comfort and a transitional-other with whom to practice allowing themselves to love and to trust again.
Renovation of the petting zoo is important and significant for improving the lives and the welfare of the animals living in the zoo and for the 100 children who benefit from therapy with the animals.
Many of the animal cages have become old and dilapidated and are seriously in need of renovation. The existing infrastructure is old and no longer able to support the zoo activities.
We are emphasizing the animals' welfare (for the sake of the children) and see utmost importance in this. Please prayerfully consider supporting this project.