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 ...
Jan 27, 2015

Progress Report on YEDID's Mobile Center

Health Day Kiryat Malachi
Health Day Kiryat Malachi

Alex is a 78-year-old man who made Aliyah from Ukraine, and who now lives in Nazareth. Alex turned to the Mobile Center for help in getting his severance pay; Alex had worked for a manpower company for the last six years, and needed the money he was owed to continue to live above the poverty line. Though he had turned to the insurance/pension company responsible for this on his own, after two months of little progress Alex began to lose hope of ever getting the money that was rightfully his. After hearing about YEDID from a friend, Alex approached the center while it was stationed in Karmiel.

A center volunteer filled out all of the required forms with Alex. She then contacted the pension company to understand why they were withholding Alex's severance pay, and to demand that they transfer the payment immediately. It turned out that Alex's employer had neglected to fill out a form one month, which had prevented them from releasing the payment. YEDID contacted the employer, who quickly sent the required document. During Alex's same visit to the center, the volunteer accompanied Alex to the local income tax offices to obtain an exemption from paying taxes on the severance pay he was going to receive. Finally, the company had all of the forms that they needed, and Alex received the NIS 33,000 he was owed.

The goal of YEDID's Mobile Citizen Rights and Health Center is to empower and strengthen residents like Alex of Israel's socioeconomic and geographic peripheries in the areas of health and social rights. The Center's objectives are to help clients navigate the national health system; to provide preventative medical services; and to supply information about legal rights and social benefits in the area of health care and other areas (such as housing and National Insurance, to name just two).

From the beginning of November 2014 through the end of January 2015, the Mobile Center provided 137 clients with rights counseling. The most prevalent subjects for which people turned to the center for non-health related issues during this period were matters related to debt and repossessions (30%), issues concerning public housing and mortgages (22%), and problems in accessing benefits and rights from the National Insurance Institute (Social Security) (19%). Clients served included immigrants and veteran Israelis, Arabs and Jews.

The Mobile Center's plans for the coming months are to continue running Health Days, to recruit more volunteers with specific skills such as fluency in Arabic and Russian, and professional experience in relevant fields. Following Operation Protective Edge in July-August 2014, the Mobile Center spent a day outside Kiryat Malachi's Elderly Day Care Center, providing basic health examinations and medical referrals for all of the Center's inhabitants, most of whom had been unable to leave their houses for long periods of time. Thanks to a generous donation, we have hired an additonal part-time case manager for the Mobile Center. This will allow the center's staff and volunteers to more efficiently handle the packed caseload, especially on days in which the center both receives clients and simultaneously runs health days.

On behalf of YEDID's staff, volunteers, and clients, I thank our supporters for their partnership. The immediate and essential assistance that the center provides to individuals across the country could never happen without your help. Thank you so much!

Health Day Kiryat Malachi
Health Day Kiryat Malachi
Health Day Kiryat Malachi
Health Day Kiryat Malachi
Oct 30, 2014

Progress Report on Vocational Training Course

Mawark tells the following story of where she came from, and how she got to Megemeria: “I grew up in Gondar in the west of Ethiopia. I was married by 13, and three years later I gave birth to a boy, Joseph. My mother helped me care for the child until she made Aliyah to Israel.”

“After several years I traveled to Addis Ababa with my husband and son; I was already pregnant with my second child. I missed my mother terribly, and I wished she were there to help me raise my children. When my daughter was born, I called her “Tibus;” Patience. Half a year later, my father passed away in Israel, and my family began to pressure me to make Aliyah.”

“When we finally arrived in Israel, we bought a small apartment in Jerusalem, and I began to work as a cleaner. The hours were long, the pay was terrible, and worst of all - I never felt fulfilled. I knew that this could not be my job, that cleaning could not be my life. After three years of cleaning, I went to a social worker and told her of my dreams. I told her that I wanted to learn a profession, and she sent me to the auditions for the second cohort of YVEL. I didn’t think I would pass the first tests, but I did.” 

Thanks to Megemeria, I’ve realized my dream of learning a profession, and I’m loving every minute of it. Megemeria has boosted my self-confidence, and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. Even better, my children are proud of me, and tell all of their friends about how their mother makes beautiful jewelry for a living.”

The Megemeria School would not be possible without the generosity of donors like you – every dollar you donated helped Mawark and the 21 other students of the second cohort gain the skills, confidence, and knowledge that they needed to become self-sufficient workers, who take pride in their creative work and support their families with dignity. With your help, 17 graduates are now employed by YVEL or Megemeria, along with the graduates of the first cohort. 

Megemeria jewelry sales continue to thrive! The jewelry collections of both cohorts have attracted national and international interest: Our pop-up mobile store in the prestigious Arena Mall in Herzelia Pituach has sold NIS 75,000 worth of jewelry, and we will be erecting an additional pop-up store in Tel Aviv's Gan Ha'ir Mall in November. Select pieces of the collections will also be sold at the Kabbalah Center in Tel Aviv and the Sapir jewelry store in Ra'anana. We're also expanding Megemeria's reach by developing a new eBay store. With each new piece of jewelry sold, Megemeria serves as an ambassador of the Ethiopian-Israeli community, sending a clear message: when given the opportunity, this community is capable of great things.

YEDID is continuing to advance this growing social business beyond the jewelry-making activities. We're looking into developing the school and social enterprise into a community-based tourism to house a craft shop, a café, and a space for Ethiopian artisans to demonstrate traditional crafts and skill: weaving, pottery, woodcarvings, and cotton spinning. We're excited to create a space that will share the Ethiopian Israel story with visitors from home and abroad while generating revenue to ensure the continuity and sustainability of Megemeria.

On behalf of YEDID's staff and the students and graduates from Megemeria, I thank our supporters for their partnership. Without help like yours, 44 talented individuals would not have had the chance to embark on the path to a brighter future. Thank you so much!

Oct 28, 2014

Progress Report on YEDID's Mobile Center

Getting ready for another day of change making!
Getting ready for another day of change making!
Sara is in her early 40s. The single mother of two grown children - one of whom is a soldier - Sara has struggled to make ends meet for most of her adult life; she has a disability which prevents her from finding stable employment, and subsists entirely off of a monthly NIS 2600 ($680) disability benefit. Over the past year, Sara has been disconnected from her supply of natural gas. The reason? She had an outstanding debt of NIS 700 ($185) to the gas company. Perpetually perched on the edge of poverty, Sara wasn't able to pay the debt in full, let alone find the money for the gas line reattachment fee. With nowhere to cook for herself, Sara turned to cheap junk food alternatives, and her health rapidly deteriorated.  
Over the course of the year, Sara repeatedly petitioned the Amisragas gas company, requesting that her debt be spread out over a number of installments, and that she be allowed to pay with vouchers, as she had no credit card or checkbook with which to make payments. Her request was repeatedly denied, and Sara began to lose hope. A chance meeting with an acquaintance at the supermarket led her to YEDID. After hearing Sara's story, a Mobile Center volunteer immediately contacted the head office of Amisragas. The volunteer submitted a number of documents detailing Sara's economic predicament, and demanded that Sara's request for instaled payments be accepted. Within days of receiving the volunteer's letter, the head office approved Sara's request. She was a given vouchers to use on the 28th of each month to pay for gas, and was reconnected to the gas line for free. Thanks to YEDID, Sara can go back to cooking for herself and get her health back on track.

The goal of YEDID's Mobile Citizen Rights and Health Center is to empower and strengthen residents like Sara of Israel's socioeconomic and geographic peripheries in the areas of health and social rights. The Center's objectives are to help clients navigate the national health system; to provide preventative medical services; and to supply information about legal rights and social benefits in the area of health care and other areas (such as housing and National Insurance, to name just two).

From the beginning of August 2014 through the beginning of November 2014, the Mobile Center provided 144 clients with rights counseling. The most prevalent subjects for which people turned to the center for non-health related issues during this period were matters related to debt and repossessions (28%), issues concerning public housing and mortgages (18%), and problems in accessing benefits and rights from the National Insurance Institute (Social Security) (10%). Clients served included immigrants and veteran Israelis, Arabs and Jews.

The Mobile Center's plans for the coming months are to increase the number of Health Days it runs for senior citizens age 60 and up, to recruit more volunteers with specific skills such as fluency in Arabic and Russian, and professional experience in relevant fields. Thanks to a generous donation, we will soon be able to hire an additonal part-time case manager for the Mobile Center. This will allow the center's staff and volunteers to more efficiently handle the packed caseload, especially on days in which the center both receives clients and simultaneously runs health days. Checking with Irina if this came to pass yet. 

On behalf of YEDID's staff, volunteers, and clients, I thank our supporters for their partnership. The immediate and essential assistance that the center provides to individuals across the country could never happen without your help. Thank you so much!

donate now:

Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $18
    give
  • $25
    give
  • $60
    give
  • $150
    give
  • $500
    give
  • $1,000
    give
  • $3,000
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $18
    each month
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $60
    each month
    give
  • $150
    each month
    give
  • $500
    each month
    give
  • $1,000
    each month
    give
  • $3,000
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?