YEDID: The Association for Community Empowerment

Through a national network of Citizen Rights Centers, YEDID empowers low-income Israelis of all ethnic and religious backgrounds to access their rights, break the cycle of poverty, and achieve self-sufficiency. YEDID ("friend" in Hebrew) was founded in 1997 with the mission to promote social and economic justice in Israel. To date, YEDID has given direct assistance to over 290,000 Israelis of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. In addition, we have run hundreds of community empowerment programmes, and have lobbied successfully for public policy change on social issues such as housing, labour, healthcare, and social security. Our approach to creating social change operates on ...

YEDID: The Association for Community Empowerment
P.O. Box 53151
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91531
Israel
972-2-679-0710
http://www.yedid.org.il/english

Board of Directors

Yuval Golan, Belle Gavriel-Fried, Tamara Gottstein, Eyal Itah, Staci Light, Tamar Raz, Rabbi Stanley A Ringler, Ruti Sinai, Yoel Shalvi, Dudy (Yehuda) Perry, Yossi Schenkler, Ruth Amit-Fogel, Bilha Davidson-Arad

Project Leaders

Tamara Kaplan

Mission

Through a national network of Citizen Rights Centers, YEDID empowers low-income Israelis of all ethnic and religious backgrounds to access their rights, break the cycle of poverty, and achieve self-sufficiency. YEDID ("friend" in Hebrew) was founded in 1997 with the mission to promote social and economic justice in Israel. To date, YEDID has given direct assistance to over 290,000 Israelis of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. In addition, we have run hundreds of community empowerment programmes, and have lobbied successfully for public policy change on social issues such as housing, labour, healthcare, and social security. Our approach to creating social change operates on three levels: 1. Individual Social, Economic and Legal Assistance - YEDID's network of 15 walk-in centres and one mobile unit operate in disadvantaged neighborhoods in major cities and remote towns throughout Israel, from Hazor Hagalilit and Sefad in the north, to Kiryat Gat and Rahat in the south. Our professional staff and highly trained volunteers assist clients in navigating Israeli bureaucracy, advise them in accessing their rights and benefits, and help them resolve problems with housing, healthcare, debt, employment, and other fundamental concerns. In cases involving complex social problems, YEDID addresses not only the symptoms but the sources. A significant aspect of our work therefore involves assistance in financial planning and debt management, with the aim of helping clients prevent old problems from recurring, and new ones from developing. Legal Representation: From the thousands of cases YEDID manages in our Citizen Rights Centres, our legal department hand-picks those of gross breaches of justice in the areas of debt and employment rights for low-income citizens that have the best chance at achieving precedent-setting rulings. We are currently representing a number of clients in cases that have already gone to court, including a class action suit we filed in our own name on behalf of thousands of home-care providers who currently are not paid for travel time. 2. Economic, Employment, and Community Empowerment Programming - Locally based programmes provide low-income Israelis with the skills and information to effect positive changes in their own lives and communities. In the first half of 2012, YEDID implemented 26 programmes for over 550 participants. Programmes include but are not limited to financial literacy training; employment readiness training; and community leadership and activism training, in which participants learn how to identify needs for change, how to work with the media, and how to advocate with local and national politicians. All of YEDID's programmes are based on best practices, and benefit from our breadth of insight into culled through our national scope and fifteen years of experience working with low-income Israelis. 3. National Advocacy for Policy Change - As a national organization assisting at least 25,000 people each year, YEDID is able to track trends in social issues, and to determine when a specific issue needs to be addressed on the national level. We push for change using media campaigns and by working with members of the Knesset across the political spectrum on drafting and advancing progressive legislature on a broad range of issues, including homelessness, labor law, welfare, and healthcare. New Directions YEDID is looking at exciting models to reach the working poor and generate independent revenue. Through an innovative Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) that is based on our unique expertise, knowledge, and years of experience of working with low-income Israelis, we are helping people at their places of employment cope with pressing economic and legal problems. We have contracts for pilot projects with two of Israel's largest employers - The Strauss Group - Israel's second-largest food manufacturing company and G4S Israel - a subsidiary of the international security services giant G4S. Both have over 7,000 employees. This year, we also embarked on an ambitious social-entrepreneurial project with the YVEL Design Centre, an international company known for its fine jewels. Owners Orna and Isaac Levy decided that they wanted to repay society for their good fortune, and so they set up a school for new Ethiopian immigrants lacking high school education but possessing artistic skills, to provide them with a path to a career in jewelry crafting. YEDID is responsible for the operation of the school, and for ensuring that alongside with Hebrew language instruction and their gold and silversmithing studies, each participant is given the opportunity to resolve problems that most immigrants encounter but plague them for years. In the coming year we will be working on the second stage the development of a social business enterprise that will give employment to some of the graduates of the school. Sales of jewellery produced by the school's students and graduates will provide an income stream that for the newly-fledged silversmiths and jewellery designers as well as providing funds for the running of the school. This is a new model for YEDID - a hybrid of philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and business, coming together to create a project that is economically sustainable and will have a positive social impact. Maintaining the balance between the projects' three dimensions will be the key to success as well as the major challenge. The People behind the Work YEDID's most important resource is its volunteers. These include professionals from the fields of law, finance and social work who work alongside student lawyers and former clients. YEDID's volunteers undergo intensive training to ensure that they offer practical, up-to-date inormation and advice on a wide range of topics, including debt, legal rights and benefits, housing, employment, consumer issues and other concerns. YEDID has 26 full-time staff, 23 part-time staff, and 16 part-time temporary (project) staff. Senior staff includes the Executive Director, two Deputy Directors, a part-time CFO, and a part-time National Director of Projects. YEDIDs legal department consists of five lawyers and one intern. For its community work and empowerment achievements throughout Israel, YEDID has gained widespread national appreciation and a host of prestigious awards. In December 2008, Executive Director Sari Revkin won the Globes-Schwab Award for Social Entrepreneurship. In the same year, in recognition of YEDID's national impact, the NGO was awarded the Medal of the President of Israel for Volunteerism. In 2006 Sari received the Jewish Women International's "Woman of Note" award, and in 2005 she was named one of Israel's 50 most influential women by Globes magazine (Israel's Wall Street Journal).

Programs

Aside from the daily individual assistance we provide in our walk-in Citizen Rights Centers, YEDID runs numerous empowerment programs across the country, throughout the year. One example is our Financial Literacy Trainings, which empower our clients with the basics of finance management so that they will make appropriate choices based on their needs and their budget, and avoid slipping into debt. We believe that just as the ability to read and write is crucial for success, so too is financial literacy. For this reason, we have added special financial literacy programmes for children and youth to our array of programs. A second example is our Let's Get to Work program which teaches employability skills to chronically unemployed woman. Let's Get to Work offers comprehensive solutions to the obstacles that keep chronically unemployed women from finding long-term work. Operating since 2004, this program teaches employment readiness skills, and involves participants in learning experiences which help them discover their own values, needs, and talents, and how they can fulfill their employment goals. Participants benefit from both group and independent meetings, as well as from long-term follow-up and support after the program has ended. A third example of our programming, mentioned above, is our community and leadership activism programming. We have a number of community-based groups involved in advocating for positive changes in their communities, regarding a broad range of issues. An outstanding example of the kind of work in which this program engages is the following: In Rahat, the largest Bedouin city in Israel, there is a dire lack of basic infrastructure, and many government services in the city are limited or nonexistent. After several years of grassroots campaigning, a group of volunteer residents operating out of the Rahat YEDID Citizen Rights Center succeeded in convincing the government to provide funding for the first public bus system for the city's 45,000 residents. This was a precedent setting victory and opened the doors for public transportation in other underdeveloped cities. Other examples of our programming are youth leadership programs and family communication programs.

Statistics on YEDID: The Association for Community Empowerment

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