KeepOlim empowers immigrants in Israel

January 26, 2017 by Sophie Deutsch
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Devastatingly, one-third of people in Israel who take their own lives are immigrants. This frightening figure indicates the struggle of Olim, new immigrants and returning citizens of Israel, many of whom experience mental health concerns and a lack of integrated support on a daily basis.

Olim

 

The immigrant struggle is what led Liami and Tzvika to co-found KeepOlim, a non-for-profit organisation intended to support newly arrived immigrants in Israel, almost two years ago.

During Tzvika’s recent visit to Australia, he told J-Wire that KeepOlim “started as a protest against the government that doesn’t do enough to sustain Olim in Israel. The government does a lot to bring Olim to Israel, but beyond that, not enough is being done to ensure they stay.”

Tzvika Graiver and Liami Lawrence, co-founders of KeepOlim

nitially beginning as a small Facebook group designed to provide a supportive atmosphere for immigrants, KeepOlim’s online presence ballooned in a matter of days. The organisation now has 30,000 Olim, and makes headlines around the world for its pioneering programs that support and unite a diverse spectrum of Olim.

In 18 short months, KeepOlim has devised programs such as Free Legal Aid to Olim, Bikur Cholim (an initiative that sends volunteers throughout Israel to spend time with immigrants who are feeling alone in hospital), and No Oleh Alone for the holidays (a service matching immigrants with like-minded Israelis for the high holidays).

The mental health program is one of the most recent services initiated by KeepOlim. By providing subsidised individual mental health counselling for all immigrants, whether from Australia, Europe, North, South, and Central America, Africa or Asia, Olim experiencing personal issues are encouraged to speak with a trained counsellor fluent in the immigrant’s native tongue.

In light of the recent tragic murder in Jerusalem involving a French-Israeli immigrant suspected of murdering her four daughters before killing herself in their Jerusalem apartment, KeepOlim maintains that their initiative is fundamental in providing psychological interventions that help immigrants to adjust to life in Israel.

“KeepOlim is something different because most organisations try to do Aliyah or Aliyah and Klita,” remarks Tzvika. “Until KeepOlim, there was no organisation dedicated solely to Klita, which involves integrating and supporting individuals who have immigrated to Israel.”

KeepOlim is now the premiere post-Aliyah organisation for all Olim, and remains the voice for immigrants embarking on a new life in Israel.

 

 

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