When immigrants arrived from Ethiopia to Israel over the past two decades, many did not know what to expect. The differences in culture, language and customs led to a difficult path for many immigrants, changing their tears of joy at arriving 'home' to tears of frustration and misunderstanding.
The IsraCorps Action Center, co-founded by IVN and the Rashi Foundation, developed a special program within the National Service Framework to work together with girls of Ethiopian origin to improve their grades and complete their high school studies (implemented by the Tafnit program), while volunteering in their community. This combination of learning and social action provides them with the tools they need to succeed in Israeli society; a second chance. Girls graduate the program with improved self-confidence, a clearer picture of their future, social awareness and leadership skills.
Bat-El, who immigrated at the age of 9, is now entering her second year in the IsraCorps program in the development town of Kiryat Gat and she describes it as a life-changing experience: "The IsraCorps program is very intense... the combination of volunteer work, studies and training leaves me very little free time.. However, I am completing my studies in order to improve my future. I am grateful for the opportunity given to me."
Yubi Tsuma, now an IsraCorps Coordinator of the academic preparatory program for girls of Ethiopian origin and of the IsraCorps adult leadership group in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Rehovot, was born in Ethiopia, and is currently a resident of Gedera. Yubi is Bat-El's instructor and has great belief in the IsraCorps program and its graduates: "After 2 years of instruction in this program, I envision these girls as agents that will transform the face of Ethiopian society, as they are trained to get involved in their surroundings. I truly believe that these empowered girls will be able to influence their environment including siblings, friends and family."
Sharon Ben-Shachar, Director of Leumi Tomorrow- the Centennial Fund for Endowing Israel's Future Generations:
"In addition to financial activity, Bank Leumi actively partners with initiatives for the community with the belief that we have a social and moral duty to advance the society we operate within....