United Israel Appeal (UIA) Victoria Women’s Division is part of a global community of committed Jewish women, powerful, visionary, and united by their common love and passion for Israel and the Jewish people, who support projects that are family-focused and female-led.
This year UIA Victoria is championing Heartbeats, an early intervention program that supports at-risk Israeli babies over the first 1000 days of their lives. Israel has one of the largest gaps between rich and poor in OECD countries, with over one million children classified as at-risk.
A child’s formative years are a critical time when they develop their cognitive, motor, language, social and emotional abilities. Heartbeats offers parents – many who have been referred by welfare services – the support that they need in these early stages of their child’s life.
The Heartbeats program is based on the role of two mentors per community. Each mentor works with 15 families for a period of 18 months. They work closely with early childhood professionals in the area, providing guidance, support and intervention to an additional 100 families per year.
This unique program assists over 600 families located around Israel’s fringes. UIA Australia Women’s Division is funding the development of the 12th centre in Dimona, a city that rates 4 out of 10 on Israel’s socioeconomic scale.
By providing early intervention, the goal is that children in the program will require less, or no further intervention as they continue to develop. At a recent occasion about the program, UIA Victoria Women’s Division co-chair Amanda Smorgon said, “We pride ourselves on providing the community with meaningful engagement opportunities. This event linked the values and passion of the Women’s Division, empowering female leadership and a connection to Israel.”
Co-chair Elissa Sharp also congratulated the new of the Lev Chai and Lion of Judah Pin, an international giving program, who were honoured for taking the next step in their philanthropy.