In 1999, the Mesila- Aid and Information Center for Migrant Workers and Refugees was founded by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality in collaboration with the Jewish Agency for Israel Ltd. and Israel’s Educational and Cultural Services as a non-profit organization. Mesila is part of the Welfare Human Services Administration of southern Tel Aviv.
The Mesila organization was founded in order to provide an appropriate and comprehensive response to the rights and needs of the tens of thousands of legal and illegal migrant workers and refugees living in and around the city. Mesila’s main objective is to grant social, educational and medical assistance to the city’s refugees and migrant workers.
As of the end of 2011, there were around 40,000 migrant workers and 25,000 asylum seekers in Tel Aviv-Yafo. Most members of the two communities settle in the city's southern neighborhoods, and have a deep impact on the fabric of the these neighbourhoods’ social and urban life. Located in the heart of the Neve Sha'anan Quarter (near the Central Bus Station), where many of the migrant workers and refugees have settled, Mesila offers the following services:
- Assistance and Information – including issues such as health, health insurance, legal rights, education, housing options, contracts, mediation, humanitarian assistance, etc.
- Case Management Involvement – Psycho-social assistance and follow-up regarding children and their parents, handling children with special needs, treating children suffering from violence and neglect, parenting training, occupational therapy, art therapy, etc.
- Mediating Between the Community and the Establishment – Working with education, health and welfare facilities which constitute a secondary treatment factor, and mediating between them and the community itself.
- Community Empowerment – Continuously working to improve conditions in the migrant workers private preschools sector. Carrying out courses to provide tools and knowledge for the community itself and the sub-groups within it. Providing assistance in establishing new welfare facilities for the community/ Mobilizing donations for the community. Developing and reinforcing support and mutual aid networks and organizing cultural activities and events.
- System-Wide Work – Activities to raise awareness with regard to the situation of the foreign community in Israel, formulating and promoting government policy, hosting government elements, providing information and tours for the public.
As defined by the organization, “Mesila offers an ‘open door’ to the distressed segments of the migrant and refugee community (with an emphasis on the community’s children) as well as a window through which municipal leaders and policymakers can improve their understanding of the needs and conditions of the foreign workers community.”
For more information, you are welcome to contact the Mesila organization.
Address: 3 Rishon Letzion Street, Tel Aviv-Yafo