From an article in "Haaretz"
Who we are?
"It is impossible to prepare for a premature birth. I went through a traumatic pregnancy with my first daughter at the age of 28. She was born against all odds at 29 weeks premature weighing 768 grams and for three months my daughter was in a crib at the Ichilov Hospital. She was in an incubator and I was not allowed to take her out and touch her. It opened my eyes to a world I didn't know," says Rumi Shouri, 41 years old, who has been volunteering at the Lehab Association since 2009 and has served as its CEO since January 2016." The pregnancy supported and strengthened me. They also helped us when my daughter was delivered from premature birth. It was clear to me when I left the hospital, that I would volunteer at the association when I could, in order to pass on to other mothers the kindness and generosity that I had received myself.
"The goal of the association is to promote and improve the condition of premature babies and their families at every level, and to work to raise awareness of the needs of premature babies. I was amazed to find out how unprepared the state is to take care of women like me and babies who are born prematurely." Since the beginning of the corona virus, the activity of the association has been reduced, and Shouri says that the association ran into difficulties and was on the verge of closing. "I considered ending my position, but recently I decided to give another significant push in the hope that we can grow again to dimensions worthy of this association that gives a voice to premature babies and their parents."
What to do? The notable achievement of the association, which was established in 2004 by seven parents of premature babies, says Shouri, is the extension of paid maternity leave for mothers of premature babies. "The association works to promote legislation related to the rights and well-being of premature babies and their family members, such as: exhausting social rights vis-a-vis social security (maternity leave, special allowance for premature babies); support and assistance - operating a hotline active 24/7 to answer the questions and needs of parents and families, operating support groups on WhatsApp and Facebook and producing initial training booklets." The association donates equipment for premature babies and useful equipment for parents, among other things to encourage pumping breast milk and breastfeeding, coolers for transporting breast milk, donation of pumps and nursing aprons.
The association also operates the "Octopus for Premature Children in Israel" project, within the framework of which octopus dolls knitted by volunteers all over the country are collected. "The octopus arms feel like the mother's umbilical cord, comforting the baby and reducing the risk that the tiny premature baby will pull the medical tubes connected to it," explains Shouri. "The octopuses are sorted and it is checked that they meet the safety, washing and packaging standards, and they are transferred to the hospital wards."
What is needed?
- Volunteers with knowledge and experience in volunteer management and retention.
- Volunteers to manage and update the association's website
- Graphic Design
- Writing content
- Production of informational videos
- Social workers and psychologists
- Volunteers for legal advice and the exercise of rights to answer and provide information to parents' questions that arise in the field of employment and social security
- Octopus sergeants. Initial training for knitting according to a standard will be given to volunteers
- Knitting guides for learning how to knit octopus according to the standard across the country
The word of the volunteer