Being an orphan once meant wearing shabby hand-me-downs that clearly marked you as a "poor kid," a "charity case," different from everybody else.
Here at Diskin, we've learned how much a child's appearance contributes to his self-esteem. And we believe that self-esteem is the very basis of emotional health and growth.
Healthy emotional development is what Diskin is all about. Therefore, providing clothing for all "our" children is a top priority for us. A huge portion of our budget is dedicated to this project.
And ensuring that the child's dignity is preserved is a key factor in this project. Because no matter how nice the clothes are, the feeling of being on the receiving end, being a charity recipient, hardly contributes to self-worth. So we at Diskin have devised a system that allows families to "buy" their own new new clothing:
We give the widow vouchers, usable at a number of stores. Mother and children go "shopping." They get new clothes … and they experience the greatest feeling a child can have – the feeling of being just like everyone else! (Only Mom and the shopkeeper know the secret.)
In this way, Diskin provides full sets of everyday and Shabbat clothing for over a thousand orphans, at a cost of hundreds of dollars per child. And we do this twice a year, before the winter and summer seasons – in addition to offering extra assistance each year to dozens of orphans before their weddings, helping them to start off their new, independent lives with confidence and pride.
It’s not only how the clothing is given that makes this program so effective. It’s the style and quality of the clothing as well. The children can choose apparel that's as fashionable as anything their friends wear, so they feel good in school and comfortable around their classmates. When a child knows he looks good, it gives him that warm, happy feeling of fitting in, and there's no question that this helps him perform well – in school and in life.
He's dressed for success.