A Project within the Ezra LeMarpeh Rehabilitation Center in Sderot
For the past 15 years, the residents of Sderot and the Gaza perimeter have lived in perpetual fear, enduring the constant threat of Kassam rocket attacks on their hometowns. Many local residents still suffer from physical injury, emotional trauma, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The continual barrage of Kassam rockets has driven wealthier citizens out of Sderot, leaving behind the disadvantaged population of this struggling southern region. The town of Sderot currently ranks 4 out of 10 on the socioeconomic scale; many residents are unemployed or supported by National Insurance.
The Ezra LeMarpeh Medical Rehabilitation Center provides expert medical and rehabilitation services for the Sderot residents at no charge. Amongst all the leading therapies provided, is the Rehabilitative Garden. The main idea behind gardening rehabilitation is to harness the healing power of nature: plant growth, budding, blooming, flowering, restoration and rejuvenation after pruning, showing growth and green colors and scents of flowers – which provide energy and growth to rehabilitate and heal people who are degenerating.
One of the highlights of the Rehabilitation Garden is an ancient ficus tree, which has been carefully preserved and maintained through the construction process and enhances the aesthetic environment that is the setting for this therapeutic garden.
The objectives of the therapy are:
- To restore the patients’ confidence in their ability to direct their lives and shape them in directions that will help them develop and realize their ambitions.
- Give the patient a feeling of success; that he can succeed and is capable and is in control of his life.
- To provide the patient with regular work habits, so that he can reintegrate into the work force. (Understanding instructions, scheduling, distribution of tasks, setting priorities, internalizing the work process, understanding the workplace, care for tools and equipment, and more.)
This community garden is also intended to service other populations. Another audience servicing the garden are local school children, who are given the opportunity to interact with the day-care patients and assist with the care of the garden. We encourage schools and youth groups to participate in this program, which enables the children to care for the plants and learn about the process of healing using plants. Equally important, it exposes the children to less-fortunate members of our society, in a harmonious and peaceful environment, where everyone can have a role to play in caring for the garden.