Spring camp for disabled children charges forward despite Hamas war

Science and Health

Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) and JNF-KKL Germany, in collaboration with the “Simcha Layeled” association, held a summer camp experience for disabled and seriously ill children for five days in Eilat last week. 

The camp was attended by 850 children, some without disabilities, and a professional team of social workers, medical teams, volunteers, and KKL-JNF guides. 

The young campers enjoyed five days of activities like water sports, beach parties, a pajama party, a sunrise trip, and more. Additionally, the campers attended a memorial ceremony for those who fell in the war.

Singer Benaia Barabi held a performance for the campers, and evacuees residing in Eilat, on Tuesday as a special treat.

The important work of the organizations

Shaham Masori, an 11-year-old from the “Simcha Layeled” association with Cerebral palsy, expressed excitement about going to the camp: “I have a mentor who comes to me every week, and together we do lots of fun things. Once a month, we also go out for group activities that are always special and fun, but now I’m mainly looking forward to the camp in Eilat! To talk to friends who are dealing with a chronic illness like me, to play cards, to be with the mentors, to hike and enjoy, there’s nothing like the Simcha Layeled! I feel like this is my second family.”

Keren Shemesh: Spring Camp for Children with Disabilities and evacuees (credit: Yehuda Ben Itach, KKL-JNF photo archive)

Odeya Bilig, who is responsible for community initiatives, ‘olim’, and special needs at KKL-JNF, said: “We at KKL-JNF are pleased to collaborate with the Simcha Layeled association. KKL-JNF operates extensively among populations with special needs, with a variety of integration activities within society. Particularly in this challenging period among evacuees with special needs. KKL-JNF will continue to invest and initiate comprehensive activities for the residents; it’s time to be united and contribute for the benefit of others.”

Eli Klarman, CEO of the ” Simcha Layeled” association, stated: “We are happy and excited that the camp took place despite the challenging times we are all facing in Israel. For the children, this camp is so important and critical for their ongoing emotional support and is a fun break from their routine. We thank KKL-JNF Israel for their collaboration, we thank our friends and donors of JNF- KKL Germany for their support. Without all that – all these great things would not have happened.”