Aug 5, 2015  By Jewish National Fund  Category: Education,

Mother Nature program: Helping battered women heal through the great outdoors

A child's depiction of the LOTEM Mother Nature outing. 

Mothers and children splashing in a stream.
There are currently 13 shelters for battered women and children in Israel, housing up to 650 residents per year. Imagine the fear, isolation, and trauma experienced by these victims, not being able to leave their residences alone, afraid of being recognized or followed. 

LOTEM - Making Nature Accessible, recognizing the need to promote trust, independence, and leadership in these moms and kids, has developed the Mother Nature program to provide days of relief and respite to them through the healing power of nature.

LOTEM -- which offers educational outdoor activities throughout the country for children and adults with special needs -- also guides trips for battered women and their kids, from newborns to teens, into parks, trails, and quiet streams. There, participants learn about their surroundings, including lessons about ecology and seasonal patterns in vegetation and animals that they can relate to their own stormy lives. 

The natural surroundings allow the participants to relax and let go. Hadas, director of a Haifa shelter for battered women, says that one day in nature often does more for the women and children than several therapy sessions.

On one nature outing, a woman was sitting with her children on the bus. "It’s the first time that anybody has ever organized a field trip for me, taken me on a bus and pampered me," she said excitedly. Throughout the outing, every landscape and every piece of nature excited her. She told her children, "Stop fighting. We don’t know when the next time will be that we will be privileged to experience a day like this."

Unfortunately, this important and wonderful program is in need of help as its funding has been cut. To give mothers and children the services to heal through nature, please consider a gift to Lotem. Learn more here