Sderot is a western Negev city and former development town in the Southern District of Israel. The small town is located less than a mile from Gaza and has been an ongoing target of Qassam rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip since 2001. Rocket attacks on the city have hurt and wounded civilian population caused millions of dollars in damage and profoundly disrupted daily life.
The student village in Sderot is the last village so far, which the Association built. The village was created following a government initiative during Operation “Protective Edge”, as a way of responding to the needs of the local communities with respect to the security situation in the area.
The village is located in the heart of the city and can accommodate 70 students. The village contributes to the city of Sderot not only culturally and socially, but also contributes economically, supporting small businesses in the city. A unique aspect of the Sderot village is its similarity to dormitories due to the cooperation between the village, the college, and the Department of Social Involvement.
The students volunteer in social and educational work with children in the city, as well as teenagers, and other at-risk populations. Through their efforts, the students touch the lives of dozens on a daily basis. They activate a Therapeutic petting zoo—a new project initiated by the ministry of welfare. Offering a unique type of treatment to children who have undergone traumatic injury. The Ayalim students care for the animals and assist operate the area. Through their interaction with the animals, the children regain a sense of security lost during their trauma.
Another unique feature of this village is the way in which the students work together with “Knafaim” organization to help empower disabled youth and provide them with the tools they need to live independently. One of the apartment buildings in the village is handicap accessible. The two students living in this apartment are an integral part of the community and all its activities. This helps to achieve the goal of the project as well as to set an example for young people throughout the Israel.