Project Spotlight: Nishmat Maayan Program for Ethiopian Girls
The Fellowship | November 1, 2016
Many young Ethiopian Israelis do not receive college degrees and, subsequently, are often limited in finding professional employment. This is especially true for young women. The Fellowship-funded Nishmat Maayan Program for Ethiopian Girls is dedicated to helping Ethiopian Israelis get a college education and successfully enter the work force.
The participants come from low-socioeconomic backgrounds and large families (7-13 family members), both of which often hamper their ability to earn a degree. To overcome this struggle, the program helps these young women prepare for higher education, master life skills, and gain a solid education in Judaism. They receive four years of supervision until they earn their degrees followed by professional placement.
The program aims to successfully integrate Ethiopian Israeli young women into mainstream Israeli society with the goal of creating a group of Ethiopian Israeli leaders and role models who will positively influence other girls in their community.
The Confidence to Succeed
Before entering the Fellowship-supported Nishmat program, Ioana suffered from low self-esteem. She shied away from participation in class, never expressed her opinions, and had no desire to speak in front of an audience.
But during one of the pre-college weekly life skills workshops, Ioana began building her self-confidence. The helpful staff and students encouraged Ioana to find her voice and express herself daily – and their support made all the difference.
At the end of the year, Ioana’s Bible studies teacher assigned the class a term paper and students were required to present their research before the class. In the past, a project like this would have made Ioana anxious. But because of so many helpful teachers and daily practice participating in class, she gave a strong and successful presentation – a feat she did not think was possible just a few months prior.
Afterwards, she told the Nishmat Ethiopian Women’s Program staff, “You brought my confidence from 0 to 10. It’s such a shame I didn’t have this support of skill-building and self-improvement as a child. My high school and National Service for Israel experience could have been so different. Please let The Fellowship‘s donors know how important this program is for us.”
Thankfully, Ioana now feels ready for college and will be able to confidently participate in class, which is a key to success in college-level discussion classes. She feels very grateful and knows she has a bright future thanks to The Fellowship!