In Ashkelon, YEDID’s Let’s Get to Work! program celebrates a successful completion of the course with inspiring results
A feeling of euphoria could be felt in the Tikvateinu Community Center on Sunday, as eight women gathered for their last session of the Let’s Get to Work! program in Ashkelon. For the past seven weeks, this diverse group of women had met twice-weekly for YEDID’s job readiness course. The program was facilitated by YEDID's National Director of Projects, Ruthy Katanov, and course coordinator, Anat. Although each woman, coming from a variety of backgrounds and ages entered the course with a sense of hopelessness about any prospect of landing a job, nine out of the original 14 course participants (64%) have already found work.
This is an immense victory. Ruthy believes it was not a mere coincidence that this particular group was so successful: “This was a special group of women. They genuinely cared for one another and provided a much-needed support system for each other over the duration of the course.” An important element of the course is to provide a sense of community for these women, who can feel empowered as individuals capable of contributing to society.
Ultimately, this is an important goal of the course, designed to give women without resources, income and experience the tools for successful employment. All of the women agree that the course provided them with invaluable assistance in many facets of their lives.
One participant, Adi, explains: “this course gave me the confidence that I always lacked. For the first time, I was able to do something for myself and at the same time gain friendships like I have never had before. For another participant, Yael, the most important thing she learned was to be independent. Michal, agrees, and adds: “I learned that I can say ‘no’, and do not have to blindly agree to anything that anyone asks of me”.
The Let’s Get to Work! program was piloted in Dimona in 2005 when members of the community expressed great need for this type of workshop which would aid some of the most vulnerable citizens of Israeli society. The program is designed to first empower women to believe in themselves and to help them identify who they are and how they can contribute to the community. Once this has been identified, these women learn practical skills that will be essential for employment.
We take this time to congratulate these inspiring women and extend special thanks to Ruthy and Anat for an incredibly flourishing and dynamic program.
Let's Get to Work! in Ashkelon was generously funded by UJA Federation of New York.