Before we dive into the past few months at the Eritrean Women’s Community Center (EWCC), we would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our supporters. As the only grassroots refugee-run organization of its kind, the EWCC depends on generous contributions, volunteer assistance, and general support from our amazing network of friends, family, colleagues, and more. Each time you give support, money, time, words of encouragement, and more, you positively impact the life of a strong asylum-seeking woman and her family in Tel Aviv.
The past few months, EWCC continued to pursue past activities, while expanding programming in new directions. In light of unplanned changes in personnel and funding, as well as a continuously deteriorating political climate for asylum seekers, many challenges emerged. Without hesitation, EWCC rallied together to meet the goals we set at the head of the year.
This year we also dealt with harsh ramifications of Israel’s Deposit law, enacted in 2017. Effects of the law are painfully evident in the lives of women and children we serve, especially single mother households. Economic destitution places women at risk, threatens food security of children, and safety of the family. Forcing the women to work long hours at low wage jobs, loving parents are forced to leave their children in inadequate child care. Women increasingly come to us seeking basic foods and baby supplies. Since the beginning of the deposit law, approximately 300 to 400 women turned to prostitution to support their families and to pay rent (https://bit.ly/2FLORQo). As a result, the government reduced this percentage of unjust salary theft for women, and the EWCC was there to assist with bureaucratic form assistance, allowing women to reclaim their hard-earned money.
The project your recent contributions to the EWCC funded was our Beauty and Business course, and we would like to update you on the exciting progress of the participants and the course. Our Beauty and Business course has continuously proven to be an incredible success, providing skilled hairdressing training with finance and small business literacy. We had 40 women graduate from this course in 2018. Our most recent 2019 course is being taught by a graduating student, who has become the teacher of the course. After graduating from our course, she opened her own hair and beauty business, and will be able to host the new cohort of students in her own salon for practicing, as well as in EWCC. We look forward to seeing the women continue to become small-business owners, economically independent, and more aware of their own abilities in the face of adversity.
As the only refugee-run and grassroots organization of its kind, the EWCC has become a safe-space in the refugee community in South Tel Aviv. We are proud to work side-by-side the strong and determined asylum-seeking women of South Tel Aviv.
We again thank you sincerely for your support and love. We could not do this hard work without you.
The EWCC board, Mel, Inbal, and the rest of our awesome team