Pasta and ketchup. What kid wouldn’t welcome a daily diet of these two nutritionally “challenged” food items? For the young children who attend one of the dozens of “gans” or daycare center (there are more than 60 of them) set up for the children of African refugees throughout Tel Aviv, that is exactly what they eat each day.
Last month as we were winding down our Israel trip we met two women whose work both inspired us and renewed once again, our belief that there are Good People out there who when working together can change the world. Several years ago Shlomo Artzi (yes, that Shlomo Artzi) and his wife Michal gathered friends and began Tzimaon with the belief that those blessed with more economic opportunities should help people who struggle daily to get by. To each of them, this is what Israel should represent.
With a staff of ten volunteers (all women), no offices and no salaries, Tzimaon focuses on educational opportunities in places like Givat Olga and the Shapira neighborhood in Tel Aviv. In our meeting we learned of the group’s latest project, the brainchild of Carmit Elad, a Tzimaon volunteer. When Carmit visited many of the refugee daycare centers and saw the conditions there she knew she needed to do something. With the cooperation of “Daniella’s Gan”, she brought together both Israeli and African volunteers to turn this dark and sad classroom into a true Gan Eden! (Garden of Eden) Walls were painted, carpets laid, new furniture, computers, toys…whatever they would want for their own children they believed should be there for these children as well.
When the Good People Fund learned about the pasta and ketchup diet it was very easy to agree to a matching grant to provide one year’s worth of healthy, nutritious lunches for the children in Daniella’s gan. It’s what we would want for our own children, why not these?