Established in 1980, Orr Shalom is a non-profit organization that rescues Israel’s children who have been removed from their homes by the social welfare services following severe abuse, neglect and tragedy. By providing safe, loving homes and educational, psychological and material support, Orr Shalom enables the children in its care to break the cycle of abuse, overcome their pasts and prepare for life as independent adults.
Today, 1,430 children live in Orr Shalom foster families and homes across Israel where they can receive professional help, unconditional love and an opportunity for a better future. We are proud to report that during 2013 we received the Israeli Presidential Award for Volunteerism from President Shimon Peres.
Over the years, Orr Shalom has created pioneering programs for Israel’s neediest children. In 1994, it established the Therapeutic Foster program to care for children-at-risk with psychiatric profiles. Following the success of this program, it was awarded the government tender to manage foster programs in the center of Israel (from Gedera to Hadera).
Orr Shalom was officially founded by Gottfried Muller, a philanthropist, who approached a young Israeli couple, Hal and Shelly Cohen, who were interested in pioneering new models of out-of-home care for children-at-risk. The Cohen's believed that intimate, family homes would meet children’s needs more than institutional frameworks. With Muller’s help, they took in ten children-at-risk. The Ministry of Welfare was so impressed by their work that they gave them permission to establish Israel’s first Family-Therapeutic Group Home. Orr Shalom was born.
By 1990, the organization had four Family-Therapeutic Group Homes and the Reut Home for Boys, caring for 46 children. Over the following 14 years Orr Shalom grew, opening Therapeutic Family Group Homes and Adolescent Girls Homes across Israel, as well as the Beit Goldschmidt Home for Girls.