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 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!

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!

 
   

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
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?
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.