As the war rages in Israel, we are devastated by the destruction, and vigilant in our support for Darca’s students, teachers, and principals. We are already mourning the loss of 23 Darca students and graduates killed since the war began, and we will continue to pray for the additional 10 who remain unaccounted for.
Darca’s resolve has been reinforced by the outpouring of support by the YRF Community. So many of you have reached out to ask what you can do to help. We are grateful on behalf of the affected families for your concern and generosity. At this time, we are in constant contact with school leadership and teachers on the ground in all of our communities, in order to provide assistance in the following ways.
Youth Renewal Fund has established the YRF Israel Emergency Campaign to directly address the key priorities in our most impacted schools, and specifically support the families heartbroken and suffering from unimaginable loss. This is our way to have an immediate impact on Darca’s most pressing areas of need, with 100% of the proceeds going to four top priorities:
1. Welfare Support: Too many families within Darca’s network have experienced severe loss, tragedy, trauma, and destruction of their homes, due to the extreme escalation of violence and terrorism. Darca is committed to assisting our communities with emergency welfare support. Darca is also working with municipalities to coordinate aid efforts for families who have been devastated by this onslaught of violence.
We estimate that at least 50 families of our students and teachers in the regions of Hof Ashkelon and Netivot, as well as the city of Ashkelon have been directly impacted, and we will provide them with immediate welfare and financial relief. Our current estimates total approximately $200,000.
2. Emotional & Psychological Counseling: The war in Israel will create serious, long-term trauma for our Darca community. Darca will provide emotional therapy and psychological support to any student, teacher, or family in need. More than half of Darca’s students and teachers live in close proximity to the war zone, and face tremendous pressure and stress.
We offer resources, including psychologists, social workers, and welfare employees, to all of our school principals, so that they can immediately address the emotional needs of their students, schools, and communities. We anticipate that these tools will cost approximately $300,000.
3. Technology Infrastructure & Access for Remote Learning: Given the immense damage to our communities near the Gaza border and the anticipation of prolonged conflict, getting our students physically back into school for regular, routine scheduling will take time. To minimize the negative impact of interrupted education and provide each student with the best possible access to education, Darca will implement a comprehensive remote learning program in these communities. Additional laptops, tablets, and other technological equipment will be necessary. As we transition to remote learning, we must ensure that none of our Darca students get left behind.
We estimate an immediate demand of at least 400 devices at an approximate cost of $500,000 total to be supplied to students and staff in need in the regions of Hof Ashkelon and Netivot, as well as the city of Ashkelon.
4. Substitute Educators: Darca’s needs are ever-growing during this time of continued war and violence in Israel. As a more comprehensive image of Darca’s status has become clear, we have discerned the need for additional educators and teaching hours. With so many of our Darca staff paralyzed by loss, trauma, or displacement, substitute teachers will be necessary to temporarily fill-in, so as to avoid further interruptions for our students.
To this end, we have added a fourth channel of support within our Israel Emergency Campaign. We estimate that an approximate $100,000 of additional aid will be necessary to address this urgent need in the coming days.