Empowerment and Violence Prevention Programs for  At-Risk Groups

Since El HaLev’s founding in 2003, the organization has invested many resources in preventing violence against at-risk children and teens, survivors of violence and their families, people with physical or mental disabilities, people coping with mental illness, seniors, and other vulnerable groups. We have done this out of a firm belief in every person’s right to live with freedom, safety, and dignity.

Our extensive experience creating and adapting programs to the specific needs of these groups is beyond compare. We’ve worked with hundreds of safe homes, boarding schools, special needs classes, shelters for battered women, violence prevention centers, special education schools, and seniors’ clubs. Our senior staff members are internationally renowned experts who contribute their vast knowledge to various institutions throughout the world.

This devoted staff is also culturally sensitive, adapting our programs to ideally meet the needs of individuals from the entire social spectrum of Israel: the religious sector, haredim, new immigrants, Ethiopian immigrants, the Arab sector, etc. We see this as an integral part of the realization of our vision for creating a respectful, healthy, and safe society.

“The instructor taught the girls the principles of self-defense with professionalism, warmth, sensitivity, and determination. She strengthened their awareness, focusing on coping skills, and the girls acquired skills and their self-esteem and sense of capability was boosted, which is very important to their coping with a very difficult day-to-day life.”

Chaya Teitelbaum,

Genstil Center for At-Risk Teens

“The experience you gave us was very powerful for the women in female empowerment, a sense of control, and a feeling of capability. For women who have been through a lot of violence, this is an important experience that can’t be taken for granted: to succeed with the self-defense materials in an accepting and safe environment, and to leave it feeling good and with an experience of learning and self-esteem.”

Sil’it Staff


People with Special Needs

Since El HaLev’s founding, we have developed programs for people with various abilities, and we have worked hard to integrate them into the existing programs. The goal of our programs is to decrease the incidence of all forms of violence (physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and financial) among all sectors of Israeli society (haredi, Arab, Ethiopian etc.), based on our firm belief in the right of every human being to protect his or her body and spirit and live in safety and dignity. Our classes are adapted specifically to our students, including children and adults with mental illness, cognitive disabilities, visual impairments or blindness, hearing disabilities, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and more.

At-Risk Teens

Self-Defense as Part of a Therapeutic Curriculum Our instructors always work in close cooperation with the teens’ therapeutic and educational staff members. The staff’s professional perspectives and deep familiarity with the needs of each girl help our instructors adapt the program to meet those needs as effectively as possible. When possible, we recommend that the staff participate in a preparatory workshop where they can acquire tools to work more effectively with the girls before, during, and after El HaLev’s program, as well as develop their personal capabilities in violence prevention. Cooperation with the Staff is of Utmost Importance to Us! We see our work as planting seeds of ongoing change. Therefore, even if the activity with a certain group is limited in time and scope, the preparation and professional guidance we give the staff who works with those girls on a day-to-day basis makes it possible to further internalize, process, and utilize the skills beyond the scope of the activity itself. Our Experience Proves that It Works! Tens of thousands of at-risk teens have participated in El HaLev’s unique workshops in safe homes, youth clubs run by social services, boarding schools, and rehabilitative youth villages throughout Israel.

Survivors of Violence

About the Program All of our programs harness the “El HaLev” method of empowerment in a group setting. Our hands-on approach draws group members together, helping each student discover her inner strength. About the Staff These programs are developed, planned, and taught by instructors who are certified in the fields of education, psychology, gender, and martial arts. The instructors draw on their personal experiences of the female experience in the world, and their understanding of the physical and emotional differences between the sexes. Why Is the Staff All-Female? This choice was made because girls and women are more likely to feel comfortable talking about sexual and other types of abuse in an all-female environment. The female instructors also serve as role models, motivating the students and contributing to their sense that they can overcome obstacles and succeed. What Else? The programs were developed based on many years of research in the USA and Europe, and were adapted to Israeli society. Their goal is to help students regain a sense of control over their personal space and to make better choices. We place particular emphasis on helping women reexperience their bodies as a source of power and health, and to internalize their right to protect their boundaries.


We adapt “The Freedom to Choose” workshops to the physical, mental, and emotional needs of seniors. In the spirit of the El HaLev method, the main goal of these workshops is to restore a sense of capability and freedom of choice to our students, with consideration for their changing physical and cognitive abilities.

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