Empowering Yokneam’s Ethiopian Families
Young Ethiopian families in our Israel Partnership city of Yokneam are more successful than earlier immigrant generations, but many are still considered at-risk due to persistent illiteracy and underemployment. A new report on Federation’s investment in the Maof empowerment program demonstrates that positive mentoring and counseling interventions can change lives. Maof, which expresses “vision, courage and imagination” in Hebrew, provides heads of households with one-on-one counseling, mentorship on budget management, higher education and career development, and Hebrew language lessons, where needed. Federation’s Global Jewish Peoplehood committee reports these encouraging outcomes:
- 8 families received consulting in monthly income management. Four of them have kept their accounts balanced. One family improved from constant debt to saving up to 2000 NIS a month.
- 8 individuals improved their occupational status, finding better jobs with higher salaries. At least 4 more individuals are in the process of securing jobs such as technician, bookkeeper, bus driver, and more.
- 20 individuals improved their educational status and launched new studies to earn academic degrees or professional courses.
- 5 families received emotional therapy or domestic consulting. In 3 families there was a situation of domestic violence. Another woman had a fear of driving which kept her from being able to work. Due to the therapy, she overcame her fear, got a driving license and found a job.
During the 2018-2019 year, thirty families were served by the Family Center in Yokneam. The support services included identification of major needs, setting goals, and working to move individuals forward in their lives toward better employment and economic independence.
One-on-one mentorship really made the difference in this empowerment program. One participant said: “I was all the time occupied with worrying about my son. I could not afford buying him a computer or sending him to after school activities. Now that this is covered by the program, I am available to take care of myself. I am forever thankful for this support.”
Another commented, “She (the mentor) didn’t give up on me! She believed in me more than I have believed in myself. She all the time urged me and pushed me to sign up. Now I am a student and I am still going to meetings with her to get the emotional support and encouragement. Sometimes just for good advice.”