How Jemima came into existence
Over 35 years ago, Ed and Heleen Vollbehr left for the Westbank to serve blind children.
Upon arrival they found out that there were many organizations involved in serving the blind, whereas nobody seemed to take care of children with mental (multiple) disabilities. The couple decided to take a number of deserted disabled children in their home. In 1982, at the request of the Israeli government, Ed and Heleen started to develop a home for Arab children with disabilities in Bethlehem. Two years later, in 1984, the Jemima Foundation was established in the Netherlands to support Ed and Heleen’s endeavors. Between 1985 and 1987 the first home was built as a result of fundraising by a Dutch evangelical broadcasting company.
The number of children grew and with it the extent of the responsibilities. Furthermore, the residents developed themselves and Ed and Heleen grew older. The care that Jemima provided became more professional and specialized. This meant it became necessary to expand the facilities. With the help of another fundraiser by the broadcasting company, the Helena building was built, named after founder Heleen Vollbehr, who had passed away in 1988. With the help of many sponsors, the Helena building was finished in 2003 and was inaugurated in September 2003. After founder Ed Vollbehr left Jemima, it was led by a number of managers from the Netherlands for a couple of years. They were assisted by a local management team. Since February 2011, Jemima is led by a fully local management. They receive expert support from a specialist in the field.