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 ...
Jul 27, 2015

Progress Report on Vocational Training Course

Demuza: from Cleaner to Creator


Demuza was born in a small village in Gondar, in Northern Ethiopia. As part of his preparations to emigrate to Israel, Demuza and his family moved to the capital of Addis Ababa; the family waited there for six long years. During that time, Demuza got married, and supported himself and his family with crafts and embroidery. In 2002, Demuza finally made Aliyah, and came to Israel with his wife and their young daughter.


Demuza and his wife started out in the absorption center outside Jerusalem, before moving to an apartment in one of the capital’s low-income neighborhoods. During his time at the absorption center, Demuza went through an intensive Hebrew language cours, and got work as a cleaner. Even after leaving the absorption center, Demuza continued to work as a cleaner - but he dreamed of learning a trade. In Ethiopia, Demuza never had the opportunity to study, but he had a passion for learning. He began to search for courses that would help him progress professionally.


One day, Demuza turned to his community center, and was told to apply to The Megemeria School of Jewelry. When he found out that he was accepted, Demuza was ecstatic - his dream was coming true: he was going to learn a trade. Despite the language barriers and his lack of formal education, Demuza excelled in his studies.


“Thanks to YEDID and to Orna and Itzik of YVEL, I’m creating new things, and enjoying every minute of my work. Megemeria has changed me for the better. I’ve become empowered from my work, from the knowledge gained, and from the satisfaction I derive from my creations. My family is so proud of me - I shared what I learned with my children, and they helped me prepare for my Ministry Accreditation exam. They are so happy that I am an artist and craftsman and that I no longer have to work as a cleaner. Today, I tell everyone I know - go study, better yourselves. And I tell my children the same thing: invest in your studies, it will pay off.”


Megemeria would not be possible without the generosity of donors like you – every dollar you donated helps Demuza and the 43 other graduates of Megemeria gain the skills, confidence, and knowledge that they need to become self-sufficient workers, who take pride in their creative work and support their families with dignity.


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!

Jul 27, 2015

Progress Report on YEDID's Mobile Center

Center staff Irena and Shmuel
Center staff Irena and Shmuel

Jessica Starts Over
Jessica (not her real name) is a single mother of two young children. After a tumultuous divorce and the death of her mother three years ago, Jessica was left with numerous debts; her ex-husband had taken out loans for apartment renovations (the renovations never took place), and Jessica had taken out loans from non-bank facilities even though her financial situation was already catastrophic. The total sum of all of these loans was NIS 126,000, and Jessica paid back the debts in monthly installments of NIS 4,300, though she only brings in NIS 6,500 a month.

Jessica turned to YEDID's Mobile Center when it was in Upper Nazareth, hoping that the center could help her ease the terrible economic situation she found herself in. Center Director Irena Loria immediately got to work. She knew that Jessica's NIS 126,000 loan had to be unified into one big loan, in order for her to reduce her pay back installments. Undeterred by Jessica's precarious finances, Irena turned to Jessica's employers, and asked them to give Jessica a loan that would enable her to close all of her debts. Irena prepared a detailed report of Jessica's finances, and stressed that such a loan would really save Jessica and her family. After some deliberation, Jessica's employers agreed to issue her the loan for a period of five years. Jessica was able to close most of her debts, and now pays her loan back at NIS 2,500 instead of NIS 4,300.

Finally, Jessica can breathe again, and can get back to working, parenting, and living with dignity.

Mobile Center Goals
The goal of YEDID's Mobile Citizen Rights and Health Center is to empower and strengthen residents like Jessica living in 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).

Mobile Center in Numbers
From the beginning of February 2015 through the end of April 2015, the Mobile Center provided 133 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 (25%), and problems in accessing benefits and rights from the National Insurance Institute (Social Security) (23%). Clients served included immigrants and veteran Israelis, Holocaust survivors, Arabs and Jews. 68% of those who turned to us during this reporting period were women.

Plans for the Future
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. With a new volunteer having recently joined the center, we'll be able to increase the amount of clients we are able to serve.

It's all thanks to YOU
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 in peripheral towns across the country could never happen without your help. Thank you so much!

Mobile Center Health Day in Rahat
Mobile Center Health Day in Rahat
Jan 28, 2015

Progress Report on Vocational Training Course

Addisalem Realizes a Lifelong Dream in Megemeria

From nearly the moment she touched down in Israel from Ethiopia, Addisalem found herself working as a cleaner for a manpower company. She had always dreamed of having a profession, and of making up the years of school cut short by the terrible marriage of her youth, which left her with a daughter by the age of 14. She would visit the local community center periodically, looking for courses that would help her gain the profession she longed for. One day, the center informed her that a Megemeria jewelry making course was opening, and that she was eligible to apply. 

"On the day of the entrance exams, I was very nervous," Addisalem recalls. "When I was accepted to Megemeria, I was so excited. It's a dream come true."

"I had a wonderful time in the course. Not only did I acquire a profession, I also became empowered. My family is very proud of me, and I am much more involved with my children – now, I have the confidence I need to sit down and help my daughter with Hebrew homework." 

"I wanted to thank Orna and Itzik Levy, the owners of YVEL, and YEDID, for opening up this extraordinary program, and giving me this life changing opportunity. I especially want to thank Meir, the jewelry-making instructor, and Genet, the program director, for their encouragement, their motivational speeches, and for never giving up on me."

"The classes we participated in on teamwork, conflict resolution, and keeping up with production demands in a competitive workplace really raised my self-confidence – I know now that, together with the other Megemeria graduates, I can take on any challenge you throw my way. I treasure the communication skills that I gained in those classes – not only because they have helped me improve my workplace relationships, but my relationships with my husband and children as well. Today, I am very proud of myself and my accomplishments, and I encourage all of my friends to go out and acquire a profession. I know that they won't regret it." 

The Megemeria School would not be possible without the generosity of donors like you – every dollar you donated helps Addisalem and the 43 other graduates of Megemeria gain the skills, confidence, and knowledge that they need to become self-sufficient workers, who take pride in their creative work and support their families with dignity.

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!

 
   

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