Sunday, January 8, 2017

Boasting about seclusion

This obviously doesn't compare with the death at Aleh Jerusalem in 2000 of a young woman who had been left unsupervised after her meal and aspirated her food [link]. Nevertheless, the isolation and exclusion suffered by the children and young adults warehoused in Aleh institutions is also unforgivable.

Few supporters of Aleh realize that though.

That's evidently why Aleh's PR team saw no harm in publicizing that fact. In a December 26, 2016 release describing a recent train ride organized for several Aleh residents it actually conceded: 
"For most of us, traveling by train is a routine activity. Not so for the residents of ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran, who recently went on the first train ride of their lives – a very exciting experience... During the train ride, the residents and staff sang songs and gazed, as if hypnotized, at the amazing Negev landscape passing by their windows." [Source:"First Train Ride for Residents of Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran"]
You'd think they would hide the fact that these citizens with disabilities never get to travel away from their "prison", never see the surrounding landscape, never ride in public transportation although they are perfectly capable of doing so - as this piece and its accompanying photos make clear. Instead, their isolation is proudly broadcasted.

Aleh has cleverly surrounded its large, closed facilities with other enterprises to camouflage them. Thus out-patient therapy centers operate alongside three of the residential institutions.

This week, Aleh announced - with its predictable fanfare and parade of politicians - the construction of a rehabilitation hospital at its Aleh Negev branch. The project will further entrench the institution that warehouses "more than 200 children" with disabilities. It will further shield Aleh from criticisms about the colossal government funding that it enjoys. It will further stymie the push for new legislation granting "assistance baskets" to people with disabilities who live with their families.

Our quest for a suitable home care arrangement for our daughter Chaya is dragging on. It has involved meeting numerous social workers from personnel agencies. Several of them have remarked that our situation is unique because in Israel most children like Chaya simply do not live with their families! The system makes that option unfeasible because it wants these children warehoused in places like Aleh.

So our fight continues.

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