Children and Families
From its outset, the work of Keren Malki has been principally about
children with special needs and the families who work so diligently
to raise them in the warmth of their own home.
Several profiles are sketched out below.
They describe special-needs and the families who have asked Keren
Malki for assistance. (Names below are changed to protect the
privacy of the children and their families.)
Malki seeks to empower these families, and hundreds of others, to achieve more than they could without
the support that Keren Malki provides.
of several of the children can be viewed at the extraordinary online
exhibit of photographs taken by Nir Alon, an unusually skilful
photographer from Jerusalem. Nir Alon's very special project, called
Malki's Legacy, focuses on the children in their homes and
undergoing therapy. We highly recommend you visit Nir's site.
(Profiles are updated and
changed from time to time - please check back.)
Yoni was born in
2003, only a few minutes after his twin sister, Ayelet. After Yoni’s
diagnosis, his parents took him to be tested, recognizing that he
reached certain developmental milestones months after his sister
did. Yoni was diagnosed with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD),
a category including delays in the development of functions such as
socialization and communication.
Until the age of
three, Yoni did not speak at all. When he did begin to speak, only
those closest to him could understand him due to his problems
pronouncing words correctly. However, after working with speech
therapists three times each week for years, today he is behind his
peers by a matter of mere months and is able to make himself
understood to everyone.
But the most
impressive aspect of his success has been behavioral: Initially he
was closed, passive, and sad, unengaged and unwilling to approach
challenges. Thanks to Keren Malki’s assistance, his parents were
able to offer him all opportunities possible while keeping him at
home and making decisions about his schooling. They integrated him
in a mainstream nursery (with an assistant accompanying him) and he
underwent paramedical treatments in the afternoons.
Slowly he began to
show interest in the children around him, learned to approach them,
and, eventually, was able to stand up for himself. Due to his
integration and concurrent treatments, he became energetic, happy,
and even mischievous.
Now nearly five
years old, Yoni is an intelligent and sociable child. He is no
longer afflicted with PDD; in fact, medical and paramedical
professionals who meet him are astonished to hear that he was every
considered to be in that range. Due to his experiences with
intensive therapy, he is now able to communicate and socialize with
his peers and the future, for him, knows no bounds.
Ayelet, born a few
minutes before her twin brother Yoni, developed on schedule until
she was a year old. At that point, her progress began to slow down,
and, at eighteen months, she began to regress. Her parents took her
to be tested, and discovered that she had a wide range of
disorders—physical, sensory, and social.
Today, at nearly
five years of age, she works each day to overcome her disorders.
Ayelet’s treatment includes meeting the following twice a week: an
occupational therapist, hydrotherapist, physiotherapist, and speech
professional advises, coordinates, and supervises the work of four
assistants who are with Ayelet for seven and a half hours each day,
helping her focus and refine motor skills. Ayelet is even beginning
to work on reading and mathematics.
assistance made possible by Keren Malki, Ayelet may have withdrawn
permanently in order to avoid a world which is too painful; she
would never have learned to speak; she would have spent her time
cerebral palsy at the age of eleven months, Maayan’s parents found
themselves spending upwards of a thousand shekels each month on
paramedical therapies. Coupled with the cost of travel to the city
and babysitters, it was more than the family could handle.
They looked for
support and were delighted to learn of Keren Malki’s Right to
Nurture program, which would heavily subsidize their paramedical
At the age of five
and a half, Maayan underwent surgery on his legs and, in his
mother’s words, he began to fly. Today, at age eight, he is in third
grade in a regular school. He walks to school each day on his own
using crutches, and puts them away when he arrives, running in the
school hallways independently.
before going to press with the latest Keren Malki newsletter in
August 2005, we received a letter of thanks from the parents of
Shulamit, a beautiful child with cerebral palsy.
turned to Keren Malki's
Right to Nurture
to get support for their energetic
efforts to give their daughter the best possible physiotherapy.
picture (at left) of their child with her therapist, they wrote:
“Please use this
photo with our permission. Our daughter’s smile is sent to you
with joy and gratitude.”
[Our policy is never
to breach the privacy of families who turn to Keren Malki, and never
to show the faces or reveal the identities of the families or
children we help without their express consent.]
Born three months
premature, Noam was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after months
in intensive care. His parents were told by doctors that he would
never be mobile and quite possibly would be severely cognitively
impaired; one social worker even recommended “homes” that he could
be placed in.
Now, at the age of
four, Noam is beginning to recognize letters and knows his numbers. He
is working on learning to read. He walks with a walker and is able
to stand and even take two steps independently; his speech and
cognitive abilities are completely comparable to those of his peers.
He continues to progress with the help of the paramedical
professionals, in physiotherapy each day, hydrotherapy twice a week,
and speech therapy once a week.
While he knows that
every new skill will be a challenge, he is up to each new task; he
sets his sights and, using the resources he is given, achieves his
Hundreds of children from every part of Israeli society -
Druze, Jewish, Muslim, Christian - are helped by the
non-sectarian, non-political work of Keren Malki