Amal A: Before the course I thought, and was even sure, that the people around me despised me and did not care about me because I was poor. This really hurt me a lot. However because of this wonderful and diversified group I’ve learned that people like me, respect me and I am important just for being myself even though my monetary situation is not good – this in itself has helped me come to terms with my situation. I’ve seen how people treat me differently, with respect, and this has made me more confident.
Shulamit is a 50 year old widow from Hatzor Haglilit with four daughters; one is married and three are in university. She has been supporting her family on survivor benefits since her husband died 12 years ago. While this has always been difficult, since benefits were cut in July 2003 it has become almost impossible. She came to the Family Financial Management training in a state of financial desperation. The group helped her identify that one of her problems was that she was unable to say “no” to her daughters; she felt obliged to give them everything they asked for, even if it meant that she would not have money for household essentials. Another issue was that she was not willing to ask her daughters to help her maintain a budget. Sarit, the course facilitator designed role play exercises to encourage her to include her daughters in financial decisions.
Shulamit’s daughters were thrilled that there mother had finally decided to ask them for help. “Where have you been all of these years!” they exclaimed to Sarit. Shulamit was also very happy to finally feel that she is not alone in dealing with her family’s financial difficulties; she has the other group participants and the broader YEDID community.
An important aspect of the course is to encourage participants to brainstorm creative ways for augmenting income. Tali is a very accomplished dancer, but before the course had never recognized dancing as a skill that she could use to generate income. She is now exploring the possibility of teaching dance classes. She feels empowered and enriched by the discovery of all of these resources.
12 Bedouin women participated in a this training. All the women had large families; some are married and some are divorced. Many of the participants were illiterate, so YEDID redesigned the program using a more participatory, oral model. In addition to acquiring practical tools to help them manage their limited budgets, participants were helped to clarify their emotional issues surrounding money; they formed a supportive community to help each other deal with personal and financial issues. What follows are quotes from participants describing the impact the course has had on their lives:
Foz A.: I feel like I have value in society and someone cares about me, listens to me, worries about me, and supports me. I feel that this has had a good influence on my relationship with my children. The course gave me many tools and I’ve seen how I am already able to give advice to my friends and neighbors. It is a great feeling to be able to give important and constructive pointers to others. I’m already buying only what I need and checking each sale carefully.
Miriam A.: I am more aware and not ashamed to ask about prices and negotiate with sales agents for lower prices – I don’t allow them to take advantage of me anymore. I’ve learned not to be ashamed of my financial situation and I don’t have to pretend that my situation is different from what it really is.