World ORT's New Training Program in Israel is a Real Gem!
Creating a Better Start for Ethiopian Olim in Israel
World ORT's program in Israel, Kadima Mada, has teamed up with renowned jewelry company Yvel and the Association for Community Empowerment, an Israeli NGO, to provide a one-year jewelry-making course program for twenty-one Ethiopian olim.
Students will learn goldsmithing, silversmithing, gem-setting, design processes and other elements of jewelry production in preparation for a five-month accreditation course in jewelry-making provided by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. The graduates will work at Yvel or in Megemaria, the company set up by Yvel founders Isaac and Orna Levy to generate employment and training.
The Megemaria pilot program has resulted in the development of a truly beautiful line of jewelry made by trainees and graduates inspired by Ethiopian culture and language.
It is an exciting model which the Head of World ORT's International Cooperation Office in Geneva, Daniel Kahn, who has developed ORT's role in the project in cooperation with Kadima Mada, is keen to encourage others to adopt.
"We're working as social entrepreneurs, trying not to be totally dependent on public and international funds but instead are developing self-sufficiency. I see a lot of potential in adapting the concept for the benefit of other sectors in Israel and beyond," Mr. Kahn said.
The trainees, adults with children to support, are paid the official minimum wage of about $1,000 per month while they learn. They also receive Hebrew tutoring and have access to a social worker for practical and emotional support as they go through the program.
One trainee, Yaelmworek, married at the age of 13 and made aliyah with her husband and two children. Like most of the candidates Yaelmworek had not received a formal education after grade four in her village school in Ethiopia and has tremendous difficulties in reading and writing. "I wanted to learn a profession. I applied for the Megemaria program and was very surprised when I was accepted. Now I'm learning a profession and I really love it and hope to continue in it," she said.