04/20/2020 – History will remember that it was on this date that deconfinement began for Negba during the great epidemic of the Coronavirus. After a month of closure, a partial reopening has taken place, a prelude, we all hope, to a gradual return to normal.
“The situation in certain families was really catastrophic,” says Hanna Geissmann, the association’s General Manager, “in addition to the confinement, the cramped and dilapidated housing and the lack of financial means (sometimes even food) and technology made this period extremely difficult for children. If we add the problems of addiction or domestic violence, which are unfortunately too frequent, we understand how confinement can be a real punishment in some families.”
With this reality in mind, it is with no other choice that the Negba Homes had been closed mid-March following government directives. When it relaxed the rules, the whole team mobilized to give a solution to the children: “During this time we have not stopped being in contact with the Ministries of Social Affairs and Health to know their directives,” recalls Eliav Geissmann, the Educational Director of Negba, “so when the green light arrived, we did not lose a second.”
“This is currently a partial green light, associated with many restrictions, of course,” said Eliav: “The health and well-being of children has always been our first concern, long before the Corona. So we take the recommendations of the Ministry of Health very seriously and act on them to the letter.” And these are very strict:
- Restriction to 30% of the workforce
- Maximum 5 children per group
- Temperature measurement for everyone at entrance
- Regular hand washing and use of hydroalcoholic gel as needed
- Mask and gloves for everyone
- Respect of safety distances.
“It’s kind of special to welcome kids this way, but it’s so good to see them again! Just weird not being able to hug them as usual when they arrive!” notes Ahinoam, the host of the Shy group (11-12 years old from the Les Cigognes Home). This opinion is shared by the children, in particular by Liel, 10 years old: “When my instructor called to tell me to come, I was too happy, I could no longer bear being at home doing nothing. It’s too good to come back!” Binyamin, 9, continues: “They explained to us well what we should do because of the Corona, wash our hands well, no hugs and all that. We each had a mask, that’s pretty cool! Here we can play with friends, do lots of things, at home it’s less fun!”
Eliav continues: “The current epidemic requires us to make numerous adjustments: we have divided the usual groups of 15 into sub-groups of 5 children. They all take turns at the Negba Home in Beer Sheva, 4 groups in the morning until lunch, 4 groups from lunch to the end of the afternoon. This is the maximum possible taking into account the restrictions and to be sure to apply the strictest hygiene rules.”
We all really hope that a decline in the epidemic will quickly allow us to increase our welcoming capacity and then reopen all Homes and receive all the groups; meanwhile, this reopening, even partial, is like a small light at the end of the tunnel!