Project Spotlight: Hadassah Medical Scholarships | IFCJ
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Project Spotlight: Hadassah Medical Scholarships

ester, hadassah dental (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi)

Over the last year, The Fellowship – powered by our compassionate donors – has given at-risk immigrants and struggling single moms their turn to shine by offering them grants to study at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital. Here, they are trained to become dental assistants or hygienists – jobs that offer better pay and quality of life than the cleaning or retail jobs many of the program participants held previously. For people who wouldn’t be able to afford this education otherwise, this opportunity is lifechanging – just ask Ester.

A Young Woman’s Determination

Ester was 13 when her parents were killed in a car crash, leaving her to take care of her eight younger brothers and sisters in their Ethiopian neighborhood. Just two months before, they had been a happy family celebrating Ester’s first teenage birthday. Now, everything had changed.

“It was a very hard time for me and my brothers and sisters,” Ester remembers. “We had no more family in Ethiopia; everyone had moved to Israel. So I decided to take the journey to Zion and bring my family home.”

“They gave us a small apartment, and I found work cleaning houses,” she says. “It wasn’t much, but I was happy that my younger siblings were in school and had a roof over their heads.” Ester cleaned houses for the next 11 years, working long hours and ensuring her siblings had enough to eat and money for school.

It was a labor of love. As her siblings grew, they started being able to care for themselves, and Ester was able to marry and start her own life. “I was 25 when I married my husband. We now have two kids and a beautiful marriage,” Ester says. “But after years working in cleaning, I wanted something more – a career I would enjoy and an opportunity to earn more money.”

Thankfully, she found The Fellowship’s Azimut program and was offered a grant to study and become a dental assistant. Currently, Ester is finishing her coursework. She has class and training two days a week. The other days, she cleans houses and studies after her two little boys go to sleep.

“I cannot thank you enough for the aid you gave me to realize my dream,” Ester says. “I am on a path to a much brighter future, and my husband and children are so proud of what I have accomplished. I could not have done it without The Fellowship!”

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