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Sderot seeks another ‘resilience center’ to help children with PTSD

The indoor playground in Sderot that also functions as a bomb shelter.

The indoor playground in Sderot that also functions as a bomb shelter.

Imagine trying to build a thriving city in the midst of numerous rockets, kites that can burn down fields upon contact, and with the knowledge that the only thing separating you from those who want to harm you is a fence.

This is what life in Sderot, Israel is like. Despite all these obstacles the city continues to thrive and is becoming one of the most prominent in Israel.

Being relatively young and small, Sderot does not have to deal with the same issues that major cities such as Tel Aviv are facing. Sderot is a relatively quiet, inexpensive place to live.

Described as being heaven 97% of the time, it’s the other 3% of the time where the issues begin.

Since Israel withdrew from all of Gaza in 2005, Sderot has been the primary target of rocket attacks from Hamas. These constant barrages of deadly missiles have taken their toll on the citizens of Sderot.

Seventy percent of the children in of Sderot suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Every building in the city has a well maintained bomb shelter.

Yet, Sderot continues to grow and thrive in many different ways.

Dorel Abramovitz is the director of fundraising for Sderot. He, along with the help of the Jewish National Fund, is working to create more treatment facilities for children suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the rocket attacks.

Right now there is one treatment center in the city of Sderot for children — a “resilience center.”

It is designed to be a place where the children can come receive treatment for PTSD at a pace suitable to their needs.

The issue with the resilience center currently is that it does not have the capacity to serve all the children that need treatment.

“It’s not enough, it’s never enough,” said Abramovitz.

“The city of Sderot is working alongside JNF to create another resilience center that can serve the entire Gaza envelope,” said Abramovitz.

These new treatment centers are not the only thing to better protect and help the children in Sderot. The city has built indoor playgrounds that also serve as bomb shelters. Children can play without having to run to find a bomb shelter when the rockets are fired.

“You only have about 20 seconds to get to safety after that alarm sounds. These playgrounds will get rid of the need to find somewhere safe to go because they’ll already be protected,” said Abramovitz.

Much of the development that has taken place in Sderot over the past 15 years has been in spite of the efforts of Hamas to tear down their city and force the people out.

“I think the fact that our city is growing and thriving is a counter to their attacks,” said Abramovitz.

Sderot, despite its struggles with Hamas, has a growing population. With 27,000 citizens, the population is predicted to double in the coming years.

“The people of Sderot are a positive group even when it’s hard to be.

“We have great leadership that is there in good times and in harder times,” said Abramovitz.

Copyright © 2018 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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