TEVET's Employment Program for Arab Women provides a multitude of training and 'soft-skills' workshops for Arab-Israelis with no workforce experience and low education levels. The workshops are followed by personal employment mentoring, job placement and ongoing support. Originally developed to integrate Ethiopian-Israeli women into the workplace for the first time, this model has been successful adapted to assist Arab-Israeli women around the country.
Pierre Mendes Parnas St. Jaffa
SAFA YONEZ (blue covering) is a Yafo resident, set up the amuta to connect to Eshet Chayil. Saw the need to help women here integrate into the workforce. She's a social worker, studied business MA .
MICHAL is the Central region Eshet Chayil Coordinator. The program will be transferred eventually to the Matnas and Welfare Department of the Municipality. Set up a group of 30 women, employment workshop, expose them to the work world, most have never worked or only in cleaning, caregiving etc. Learning skills, potential, encouragement, how to manage time, budget, conflict, computers.
The connection with employers is critical. There are elements of racism and discrimination, but there are lots of successes with encouragement and explanation. This is the second year of the program, it’s a three year program, now we have 22 women in. They’re also mentored when they have the job, leverage up their position (upgrade), and the group itself has to create a community project to benefit the community, like a cultural evening, creating a book for women on rights/duties, recipes for the working woman, etc. There's a private meeting once every two weeks with the coordinator for guidance and support.
Rehadiya means “strong woman” (i.e. eshet chayil) but as of now they haven’t been using the Arabic name.
AVIVA (white/black shirt) is the Eshet Chayil Coordinator, replaced Fatma on maternity leave. I hesitated on coming but they accept, they're genuine. I'm all the time pushing, not leaving them alone, phone, meetings.
TISAR (in pink; her name means ‘victory’) has three children, one is getting married this month. This project is my destiny. I used to work, but 17 years ago I got sick. Operations, hospital stays. I was a baker/conditor, but with increasing health problems so I had to stop. My daughter knew Fatma and sent me to her. I was scared but I tried. I found that I am a new person. Better. With support and encouragement. I learned, I participated in the computer workshop and more, soon I'm starting the English course. I found a job as the Referalls Coordinator in the Territories for Doctors for Human Rights, it’s fascinating. I used to undergo difficult treatments, hospital stays every two months. But since July I haven’t had a single injection. That’s my victory. Thanks to you. I'm a success story thanks to you.
We grew up thinking “only in Yafo.” But you can look further than here. It’s suffocating here. The program has helped me withmy children, to help them be more independent, prouder, it’s a better model of how we can be. We have more economic independence now.
YASMIN (in the black covering) has three children, worked in the past in cleaning and taking care of elderly. One day my eldest daughter, aged 12, saw a notice about a class in English and computing, and said, mom, whenever I ask for help in English or on the computer, you say that you don’t understand these things, so why don’t you go learn?
So I spoke with Fatma and came in for an interview. And she said, yes there's a course on computers and English, but there's also a women’s empowerment group on employment. I didn’t understand what that was and why I should do it, I really preferred what I already knew – cleaning, etc. – but she persuaded me to lift up my eyes.
The course was fascinating, it gave us tools, how to walk upright with your head held high, I can do these things. How to prepare a resume, how to behave in a job interview, to speak, body language, how to work every day. The most important thing we learned was about time management; if you’re working eight hours a day but you have a home and children.
Today I'm a customer service representative (she's very proud) at “kol yichol” service for mobile phones in Rishon LeZion, I'm a shift supervisor, responsible for 23 other employees in my team.
It can be difficult at first when the wife leaves the house to go work; I got tips on how to prepare my husband and the children. Mom isn’t always going to be at home cleaning and cooking – that’s very difficult for us, so you have to educate so the family is understanding. My husband is very proud of me, he looks after me – he told me this morning, don’t do anything silly in this meeting today (al ta’asi fadichot), make me proud.
NURA (pink covering) is 28, has a son and two daughters. I worked for a year before I had children, making boxes in a bakery, but then I stopped. I sat at home. My son brought me a note home about how if you want to find work, call this number, and that’s how I met Fatma. The empowerment course gave me huge self-confidence. How to get out of the house, how to speak. We talked about things I didn’t even know I could do. Then I participated in the children’s caregivers’ course (metaplot) for two months, it was difficult but now I succeeded and now I'm a fulltime WIZO caregiver in Tel Aviv from 8am to 4pm, I'm very successful. It’s raised my self-confidence. I'm so happy I did this.
There's a discussion that the role of the mother-in-law is critical in this society. It’s also the main obstacle to many of the younger wives leaving the traditional structure. How will his mother react if there isn’t a hot meal ready for the husband and children. But there's an interesting side-effect that living in Yafo means that the husbands want the wives to go work so as to bring more family income.
We work closely with the Municipality and the schools to spread information about the program; there's a lot of interest. Many of the women here don’t think about raising their horizons, they think about cleaning jobs or working with elderly. But we push them to think higher, to strengthen their potential, to leverage.