“The return of runaway and homeless youth to an optimal way of life through the creation of a supportive environment, designed and adapted to their needs”
Mariuma founded Shanti House in 1984 for youth at-risk and in immediate danger living on the street. She chose to dedicate her life and developed a unique therapeutic method, based on her personal experience and from what tens of thousands of young people who have undergone a journey of growth, development and choice in life have taught her.
“… When the passion for life finally arises, and with it the decision to fight and choose life, to choose the present and the future, there is nothing like it. It feels like the amazing feeling of an erupting force of nature at a divine act of creation. The face that was turned off, turns on and lights up, the smile shines, the body straightens up inside and out, as we walk step by step towards our goals and choices, and the tough grueling journey of survival we were born into, changes into a journey of exploration, a journey of magic and passion”.
From the book I wrote “The Shanti House Way“
For souls like me who have experienced violence, sexual assault, suffering, pain and especially abandonment from parents – those who should have been the anchor, safeguards and initial embrace – there is a choice to disconnect or overcome, to be a victim or choose life.
A moment of enlightenment and understanding led me to my destiny and the essence of my life. In a moment of clarity I realized that my way is to create a cosmic family of souls like me who have not experienced home and family. God guided me, and homes were created for homeless children like me.
This moment was at the age of 21 when I found the meaning of my way in this world. At this age I had a purpose and goal and no one could stop me and my understanding and belief in the way I chose. I knew I came into the world to help children like me choose life, faith, passion, optimism and hope when they could choose death, due to what they went through. They are saving my life every day..and like them, I am daily choosing life.
I could not do it for them, but I could and still can lead and give them the power to choose life.
I believe with all my heart that a person can choose to live as a victim or hold on to life with both hands.
I wanted our homes, from their outer shell to their inner shell, to reflect the optimism, joy, embrace and love these youth deserve, no matter what their religion, origin and gender, because we are all children of God and God is one for all of us.
Throughout the years of living together with the children I have developed a method, language, way and means to connect to them on even terms with what we all have in common – a choice.
I wish to share with the world this knowledge I gained, so that everywhere in the world they will be able to establish a home based on the model of the Shanti House Association – a home that will be led by love, compassion, acceptance, with the sense of security and the values of respect between a person and his friend.
Every day I am thankful and grateful for the privilege of seeing miracles happen; at every choice made by a boy or girl, who sometimes lived as homeless children, to save their lives. Thanks and gratitude to an exciting team of souls who have chosen their destiny to walk with me and give strength, hope and love to the children who have chosen life.
I am so privileged
Tedx- Tel Aviv
Mariuma was selected as one of CNN’s top 25 Heroes in 2017, out of thousands of candidates from 187 countries.
“I am excited to be one of the 25 finalists in the world and to be part of such a distinguished team of men and women who brought change to the world … I am proud to present the beautiful side of my country and especially proud in presenting my children – graduates of Shanti House, This nomination is for them.”
Shanti House opened its doors in 1984 for youth at risk and in immediate danger (ages 14-21). Since then, Shanti House has provided shelter and assistance to these young people, regardless of religion, race, nationality or gender, helping them shape their way into independent life.
Shanti House doors are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without the need for official referral or waiting period.
Shanti House serves as a temporary home and a long-term solution for youth who are in immediate danger. Through structured comprehensive and psychotherapy treatments, we build a strong positive relationship in order to foster trust, giving the youngsters the help they need to transmit out of life on the street, leading them to choose their own way in life and be committed to their decisions. During their stay, the children of Shanti House receive wide educational and therapeutic assistance that includes counseling and professional guidance so that they can mobilize their strengths, believe in themselves and their abilities, and choose life.
The colorful design of the Shanti Houses is part of Mariuma’s therapeutic approach. An aesthetic design that adds a familial atmosphere and creates a sense of optimism and positive experience that has a tremendous impact, enabling youth to feel worthy of having chosen to save their lives. We believe that the special design and decor greatly contribute to the children’s feeling of self-esteem and respect.
In the Shanti Houses, like in any family home, there is a kitchen open 24/7.
Because of all these, the initial experience of every child arriving at Shanti House – whether from the street or from anywhere else – is a homey and embracing experience (usually for the first time in their lives). For the first time in their lives, they feel worthy and deserved.
Shanti House’s graduates receive assistance, support and counseling at the main crossroads of their lives.
Many of our graduates continue to visit the House, especially for Kabbalat Shabbat and holiday meals, as Shanti House continues to serve as their family.
Since its establishment, tens of thousands of youth have chosen to live- they have survived street life, studied, enlisted in the IDF and successfully integrated into society as independent and contributing citizens.
Shanti House operates two houses: Shanti House in Tel Aviv and Shanti House in the desert. A new Shanti House in Jerusalem is expected to open soon.
Michael Ben Yosef - Vice Director General
Michael was born in 1969 and grew up in Holon. During his military service, he served as an officer in the Israeli Air Force and acquired professional education in computer engineering and monitoring.
At the age of 24 he established and managed a business in Israel and abroad and acquired extensive experience. At the end of 2001 while he was still the owner and CEO of a large fitness club in Tel Aviv, he arrived at Shanti House to distribute donuts to the children during Hannuka and fell in love with the place. For few years he continued to donate and volunteer until in 2005 he decided to leave the business world and devote himself to the organization’s activities.
Michael took an essential part in the establishment of the Desert Shanti House Youth Village. Since its opening, Michael serves as the Vice Director of the Shanti Houses Association.
Michael plays a central role in Kabbalat Shabbat, when every week he tells an inspiring story to all the Shanti House children.
Michael has an inseparable part in the Association’s development and in bringing it to its significant achievements.
Bank Mizrahi- Tfachot
Harel Insurance Company
Meitav Dash Investment House Ltd.
Adler Chomsky & Warshavsky
Clal Insurance Company
Check Point Technologies LTD
The Azrieli Foundation
Mary Bandet Foundation
Ted Arison Foundation
Mrs. Raya Strauss Ben Dror
Mrs. Marianne and Mr. Doron Livnat
Ms. Rivka Saker and Mr. Uzi Zucker
Ms. Orit Atzmon
Mr. Sam Ben Avraham
Ms. Eliana (Hava) Hackmey
Ms. Neta Golan
Mr. Yehuda Rind
Ms. Malka Kamer
Mrs. Malka and Mr. Adam Shledov
American Friends of Shanti House
And many others…
The Shanti House Association is a non profit organization according to Israeli Law (46 A) registration # 58-0199495
American Friends of Shanti House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (registration # 46-2548190)