"We realized that come 8 p.m. many of our members have no one to talk to," says Sinai Mitkin a volunteer at Enosh's Netanya branch. "One woman, for example, did not come to the meetings because she is in a wheelchair. Through the site she connected with other people and managed to go out to the theater with them."
The man behind the project is Eitan Ben-Yitzhak Klotsch, a human resources expert.
"The website is a sort of a haven for our members," he explains. "Some mentally ill people work and live in the general community and do not want to be associated with our clubs and our rehabilitative services fearing they’ll be labeled. On the other hand, the society at large does not accept them and they avoid intimacy for fear of being 'found-out.'
"The virtual community is designed to answer these exact challenges we face on a daily basis and to assist the mentally disabled to meet, date and connect with their peers," Klotsch says.
Members of the Makshivim virtual community include people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenics, manic-depressives and others who function in the general society. Members regularly meet in coffee shops or go out to the movies together.