Jaffa’s Ethiopian students are confronted with the same dangers as all of Jaffa’s children – drugs, crime, and dropping out of school. However, they have an added dimension of difficulty in their young lives. As recent immigrants, Ethiopian parents are not familiar with the daily norms of Israeli society. Things such as sending a child to school, providing a bagged lunch, appropriate dress codes, and meeting with teachers to discuss a child’s progress are foreign concepts to these new arrivals. This cultural dissonance introduces many difficult challenges within the community.
A major challenge to programming for Ethiopian immigrant families is the potential alienation of a generation. The older Ethiopian community is a predominantly illiterate one. Academic programs must stress the importance of education for the children without showing disrespect to the parents and elders of the community. The Jaffa Institute works hard to uphold respect for Ethiopian heritage and culture while assisting the younger generation to become educated and integrated into Israeli society.
The Jaffa Institute runs programs to provide both children and their parents with what they need in order to thrive.
1. Moadonit (After School) Program: Providing young Ethiopian immigrants with hot lunches, educational enrichment, and music education while integrating them gradually into the Institute’s general population.
2. Residential Education (for select youngsters): Those new immigrant students who are struggling in Jaffa’s public school system are referred to the Beit Shemesh Educational and Residential Center for a targeted residential educational program. Here they participate in an educational and therapeutic program, tailor-made for their needs.
3. Computer Literacy and Vocational Training Programs: New Ethiopian immigrant parents are eligible to participate in a variety of introductory courses such as computer applications and receptionist training and are encouraged to take advantage of our employment counseling services.
4. Food Distribution: Food parcels are delivered twice a month to Jaffa’s new Ethiopian immigrants while they learn the local skills necessary to enter the Israeli workforce.
5. Home Visits: A social worker visits homes of new Ethiopian immigrants to give them a platform to voice concerns and to serve as a bridge between the Ethiopian community and the assistance avenues that are open to them.
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