Our main day of site visits was spent in Kiryat Gat and BeerSheva, visiting the two “Better Together” programs supported with the generosity of the Farash Foundation.
Better Together isn’t really a ‘program.’ It’s more of a platform, bringing together all the different elements in a community – the municipality, the teachers, parents, activists and all those who care about strengthening the community. And in these neighborhoods (Nevi’im in Kiryat Gat, Yud-Aleph in BeerSheva) there's a huge need. Parents are scared to let their kids out at night, there aren’t any cultural or enrichment programs for youth.
In Yud-Aleph there are over 50% immigrants in the neighborhood. That translates to weak civil society, and a lack of municipal services because there aren’t enough activists to lobby for those services.
But we kept coming back to an amazing sense of pride, a sense of change, in both these neighborhoods. In just the last year or two, since Better Together began, we’ve seen real change in the perceptions and orientations of the community.
People are starting to believe in change. They’re starting to understand that the Joint will help, but it’s up to them to lead. And this leadership is growing.