About the project
The “Handcart Children” are children mainly from East Jerusalem and villages on the outskirts of the city who come from underpriviledged and poor families, and whose parents sometimes encourage their children to drop out of school to help with the family finances. Mahane Yehuda is Jerusalem’s oldest market and is a magnet for these children who are in search of any kind of casual labor, many already have siblings working there. The children are aged anywhere between 8-16 and work for the stall owners selling and moving around produce, offering shoppers a way to get their purchases to their cars easily using small trolly’s or carts, Hence the name “Handcart Children” More than ten years ago the Jerusalem Foundation and the Lev HaIr Community Center (City Center Community Center) initiated a program to help these children find a balance between study, work, with the help and understanding of both the police and welfare authorities, who understood that that any authoritarian approach would more likely be detrimental to the children as well as intensifying any family problems the children may have at home. The program that was put together for these children, keeps them involved in studying while allowing them to continue to work part time. On the days of the week that the market is quiet, the program provides them with a framework for study as well as a physical place to relax, socialize and enjoy sports activities, computers and games, they also have their own club called the”Handcart Club” which meets twice a week, in addition the children are taken on regular excursions, the zoo for example, or one of the several waterparks around the country, which is something they ordinarily do not have the opportunity to do.