Project Spotlight: WIZO Schools

The Fellowship  |  October 10, 2017

Six adults standing together smiling.
Project Spotlight: WIZO Schools

The Fellowship-supported WIZO schools provide the very best education to more than 5,500 young Israelis between the ages of 12-18. Many of these young people come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and many struggle with social and educational challenges.

One of those youth is Adiso, 17, who is in 12th grade at WIZO Nachlat Yehuda Youth Village in Rishon LeZion and lives in the residential dormitories in the village.

Adiso grew up in Gan Yavneh, a small town in southern Israel, and is one of three children in a family that made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from Ethiopia. The family’s economic circumstances are very dire, and when Adiso first came to Nachlat Yehuda five years ago, he struggled with many social, emotional, and educational deficits. Two years before arriving at Nachlat Yehuda, one of Adiso’s closest friends committed suicide. This trauma and grief caused Adiso to become depressed and isolated from his peers.

Like many young people dealing with traumatic childhoods, Adiso was physically and verbally violent in his first years at Nachlat Yehuda. This type of behavior isolated him from the Nachlat community, as even the educational staff were fearful of confronting his disruptive behavior.

But the team at Nachlat Yehuda didn’t give up so easily, and one of Adiso’s teachers and his social worker were determined to open channels of communication with him. They talked with him constantly, and Adiso began to open up about the extreme challenges in his life. He often repeated that he did not have the will to continue living.

In addition to his social worker, Adiso began to connect to the physical education teacher, building a meaningful relationship through their shared Ethiopian background. The two worked out together in the sports facilities in Rishon LeZion. Through hard work and consistent training, Adiso experienced success in the gym with his new trainer. He was learning that hard work pays off. Adiso began to make improvements not just physically, but also academically.

Today, Adiso has transformed himself. Thanks to a great deal of hard work and the support of the mentors at Nachlat Yehuda, he has become a pleasant, approachable student. He has completely changed his path, and is excelling academically.

Adiso has also rebuilt his relationship with his family, and his father now comes to Nachlat to celebrate his son’s achievements. At the end of the school year, the team at Nachlat Yehuda honored Adiso with a certificate of excellence. His proud father came to show his support, and gave his son an enormous hug.

Adiso has become a model student and athlete, inspiring others by his strength and success. The community of Nachlat Yehuda and The Fellowship could not be more proud of Adiso’s journey.