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Social Projects
Project «Ezra»

Project «Ezra» aims to support children and young people with illnesses or disabilities. For example, we finance medical aid for them and their families, including hospital beds or wheelchairs. In addition, we facilitate necessary medical treatment abroad (usually in neighboring countries).

Support can likewise include providing for basic necessities, such as supermarket vouchers. It can also include financing professional and work-related infrastructure and social integration, like purchasing a laptop computer.


Between 45 to 50 children and young people are recommended by our specialists to participate in this project annually. This selection group consists of representatives of our partner organization «Chesed-Rachamim» Jewish Center in Minsk, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee («The Joint»), and a social worker from the Jewish Families Outdoor Center (also managed by «The Joint»).


Financial contributions also enable the chosen children and young people to be cared for at home in a familiar environment. Project Ezra is particularly critical now because, in 2009, a law was passed in Belarus requiring children with intellectual disabilities to be cared for in specialized centers. However, these centers typically lack specialized staff with experience in dealing with children with disabilities. In addition, children with severe disabilities are often not accepted.


Our encounters with supported children, young people, and their families deeply touch the participants and us. And they prove that even small contributions make big differences.

Three testimonials:


In 2015, we got to know Alexandra (name changed). This 18-year-old woman suffered from epileptic seizures for three and a half years. Because of her illness, her dream of becoming an Olympics burst when she had to give up her career as a talented gymnast and top athlete.


Alexandra has been in therapy since the diagnosis, yet she is not entirely free of seizures. She suffers from significant cognitive and psychological problems, which are attributable to the numerous side effects of the medications she takes daily.


With tremendous willpower, Alexandra passed her high school diploma and applied for a place at a leading university. Now, she studies her two passions, tourism and sports management, via distance learning. After meeting Alexandra, we decided to finance the purchase of a laptop computer to enable and assist with her studies and grow connections with her peers.


Alexandra's mother is also present at the meetings. In February 2016, we received the following letter from her:

«Today is the happiest day for my daughter. For the first time in a long time, a smile never left her face. Happy emotions completely filled her. 'Mammy, today is the happiest day,' she said. She thought and dreamed about getting a computer; she believed she would get one.

But despite all our dreams, purchasing a computer wasn't possible because we understood that the main costs in our family were medicine. But thanks to the support of leaders from ajs, my daughter's dream came true, and she has a wonderful laptop.

She wants to learn to edit photos and pictures in Photoshop. She wants very much to know to make beautiful art and pictures. The computer helps her to chat with friends. Often, it's the only way she has to communicate with her peers because my daughter is at home or in the hospital almost all the time.

We want to thank you for this wonderful gift, for bringing us joy and happiness, and for making this dream come true.»

Kinder spielen Bongo-Trommeln


When we first met Dimitrji (not his real name) in 2015, he was 15 years old. Since birth, he has suffered from a general developmental delay, with his intelligence and language functions significantly affected. In addition, he experiences significant liver and kidney function impairment, so he must take many medications and check his blood values regularly. Because of poor eyesight, he requires special books with large letters. He is quite large, almost 2 meters tall, and overweight.


At the special needs school Dimitrji attends, he especially enjoys the arts subjects. He performs well in drumming, singing, and dancing. At Chesed Rachamim's summer camp, he has received much recognition for his social behavior and musical performances.


For Dimitrji's family to sufficiently cover his medical needs, we support them with supermarket and food contributions. A few months ago, Dimitrji had heart valve surgery. Since then, he has been doing better physically and mentally and has become more resilient.


Lena and Julia

The twin girls, Lena and Julia (their names have been changed), suffer from retinopathy due to their premature birth. This is a disease of the retina that can lead to blindness. In addition, the two children were diagnosed with ADHD, a behavioral and emotional disorder that negatively affects in language development, when they were of preschool age.


Our support in 2014 enabled Lena and Julia to receive medical treatment in St. Petersburg, allowing them to go to school like other children.

Lena und Julia
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