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Mali Aharon-Mazuz, a volunteer with EFRAT, came across the organization 17 years ago when she was in Phoenix, Arizona and found out she was pregnant.

“When I found out I was pregnant, it was really scary because I was 29 without a boyfriend or a husband or a relationship or even money to get something, not to mention raising a child,” Mali says. “I was really scared and then a friend – ironically her name is Efrat – said she heard about EFRAT and she didn’t really know exactly what they did but she knew they helped so I should call them.”

Before Mali contacted EFRAT, she didn’t know how she was going to handle being pregnant and raising a child, with all the huge responsibilities that being a single mother entails.

“I was like, ‘No, I don't think being pregnant is a big deal, but I’m not going to handle it. It's a lot of responsibilities.’ It's not just being a mom. It's a little person you have to take care of.”

She was very worried that things would not work out for her, and she recalls that she “had to get to feel and get the sense that I’m not alone.”

When Mali contacted EFRAT, she discovered that they were “magnificent.”

“Someone immediately called me back and at the beginning it was emails and and phone calls and conversation like in the middle of the night,” she says.

The organization is not what people may think. They are not just a group that says don’t have an abortion. They make a real connection with pregnant women who need their help.

“It was something else. I didn't know up until then that I could talk to people and girls that used to be in my situation but never ever got to the point that they knew about EFRAT,” Mali recalls.

Mali received emotional support and kindness from EFRAT but also information and financial support during her pregnancy and for the first two years raising her daughter.

“Not feeling alone, knowing that you're not alone, is what makes all the difference,” she says. “Of course, all that financial help was was a blessing because I had nothing. I came back to Israel, and all I knew is I’m alone. Of course, I have family but I was alone. A woman that’s pregnant has to deal with a lot of emotions regarding the father, regarding to her heart, and it's really difficult for her to see the future. When you have someone like you have in EFRAT that actually understands you and listens to your phone calls at three o'clock in the morning saying ‘I can't do it. I don't want to do it anymore.”

EFRAT was there for her when she had doubts and listened patiently to her phone calls and reassured her.

The EFRAT volunteer she spoke to on the phone “was really great. I was like ‘I’m sorry, I cannot do it anymore. I want to get an abortion.’ She goes, ‘No, listen, I know your situation. Just breathe, you're going to be fine.’ But I didn’t have a bed. She said, ‘Don't worry about the bed. Don't worry about anything. You will have everything and EFRAT is home, you know.’”

Mali adds: “The feeling that you have when you're talking to the people volunteering there it's one of the greatest things ever for a single mom or someone who's been in my situation.”

At one point during her pregnancy, Mali found herself in an EFRAT shelter home in Tzfat.

“It was the most frustrating point ever because I couldn't decide what I would do,” she recalls. “I couldn’t really decide if I wanted to stay where my family was or stay near the father. I couldn't find myself. I couldn't find any peace, and I’d called him and told him that I didn’t have a place to stay. I didn’t really know what I was going to do.”

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EFRAT had a shelter in Tzfat. They helped Mali move there to stay for as long as she needed.

“They just told me I could stay there as long as I needed. You can stay there up until the birth. After, everybody's going to be there for you. They explained to me that there were a lot of women over there. Basically every woman that doesn't have any place to stay got a place at the shelter. They’ve got a great place over there to stay and and I stayed there for a couple days and then I came back and lifted myself up, like i'm strong, I can do it. It just gave you the boost that you really need. And again ‘not being alone’ – that's the saying I can always tell them about EFRAT.”

Mali just wrote to her now 17-year old daughter, telling her about how she was going to speak about EFRAT and all the amazing ways that the organization helped her during her pregnancy and in the first two years of raising her daughter.

“She knows I’m here and she knows the whole story. She knows exactly what I went through with her father and with her pregnancy and what my concerns were,” Mali says. “I just wrote to her and it's so emotional. It brings me back to the to the first home test that I did for the pregnancy, and all of Phoenix, Arizona heard me scream ‘No! I’m not pregnant. No!’ And she goes, ‘Mom, you were very brave doing that.’”

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