Fostering Hope and Healing for Displaced Israeli Children

Informal education nurtures young minds during challenging times.



(Photo @ courtesy Mahuti)

In the face of adversity, the Arison Group's Mahuti stands as a beacon of hope and healing for displaced Israeli children. Recognizing the transformative power of informal education, Mahuti has created the observing together initiative, a program designed to engage young minds and provide a sanctuary where displaced children can rediscover the joy of learning, connection, and a sense of normalcy. To date, Mahuti's dedicated staff and volunteers have reached over 1,000 children from Israeli border towns who have been evacuated from their homes since October 7th. 

A haven amidst displacement
In times of crisis, children often bear the brunt of the emotional toll, facing disruptions to their education and a loss of stability. For displaced Israeli children, Mahuti offers more than just educational activities. Mahuti, a part of the Essence of Life organization, founded in 2001 by businesswoman and philanthropist Shari Arison, offers experiential activities that promote personal development and self-reflection through the use of unique interactive tools. 

The new activity entitled observing together, was designed to suit the needs of the many thousands of young Israeli children who cannot return to their homes due to the security situation. "The activity allows participants to take a moment to return to themselves, to a safe place deep inside of themselves and to emerge with inner strength and a renewed sense of believing in themselves," Naama Kaufman, Training Coordinator at Mahuti, told Goodnet.

During the activity, participants get a chance to observe and get to know the person closest to them - themselves. By interacting through a special application, accessible from any mobile phone, a unique observation board is created. The board becomes a digital collage, consisting of images that reflect the inner world, the strengths, the dreams and personal preferences of each participant.

Creating the board is a highly independent and personalized experience, where participants are accompanied by the experienced Mahuti team. The completed personal boards are printed out and incorporated into a workshop where decorative frames for the boards are created. At the end of the activity, everyone leaves with a beautiful and moving keepsake.  

Informal education as a healing force
Mahuti's observing together initiative exemplifies the power of informal education in nurturing resilience and fostering healing. Through hands-on and interactive activities, children are encouraged to explore their surroundings, express themselves creatively, and engage in meaningful conversations with their peers and mentors.

“In just an hour, we managed to provide these kids with something positive and empowering. We were able to give the children a small respite from their difficult emotions, from the sadness and pain, and also from the ongoing challenge of being away from home. Many children told us that they miss their homes a lot,” Kaufman explained. 

The program is designed not just to impart knowledge but to create a supportive environment where children can process their emotions, build relationships, and develop essential life skills. In the process Mahuti becomes a catalyst for personal growth and a space where the displaced youth can rebuild a sense of normalcy.

Impact beyond the classroom
In addition to in-person informal educational activities, Mahuti has also created a virtual space featuring their many free online activities, to allow parents and children to disconnect from the stress of the current situation and take part in constructive and enjoyable activities together. The activities are designed to allow a moment of respite, encourage children to talk about their emotions, feelings and values and above all to express themselves. The activities include mindfulness, story time, dance workshops and more.  All activities are free and available on the Mahuti Website. 

Mahuti's approach exemplifies the transformative potential of informal education, showing that even in the face of displacement, the joy of learning and the power of community can provide a foundation for hope and healing. As participants begin to observe together, they not only rediscover the world around them but also discover the strength within themselves to overcome challenges and embrace the possibilities of a better future.

Paws of Positivity: Specially Trained Dogs Lift Spirits in Israel
Israeli Youth Rise to the Challenge
Providing Healing and Hope for Israel's Music Festival Survivors