Kibbutz College of Education (KCE)

In discussions with Peretz, the Director of the Ramat Eliyahu Matnas (Community Center), the challenge of at-risk teens who are on the streets and involved in dangerous, anti-social activities was raised. Of the 750 teens, there are 200 in this group. Three strategies were developed with three different partners that were so appealing that they would draw the teens in. This is the third of the three.

The Kibbutz College of education trains some 40% of all Israeli teachers. Its leaders discussed the possibility of doing a special outreach to attract Ethiopian students. JHH agreed to sponsor two of them if they would do their fieldwork in Ramat Eliyahu. Tarik and Rivka were admitted and their enthusiasm and progress have been extraordinary. Tarik is so grateful to JHH for enabling her, a wife and mother, to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher.

They serve as such positive role models for the community as they teach and tutor children there in math and Hebrew language. They also created a Prep class for young children about to enter first grade. It is no wonder that others now aspire to follow in their footsteps.

Our four students at KCE

Our four students at KCE

The challenges are very great. It is difficult to get principals to accept the Ethiopians as student teachers, since Ethiopians are rarely seen in such leadership and authority positions. But once they are engaged, the response is so positive that the principals request them again and again.

The hurdles are even greater as they graduate and seek full-time employment. Perhaps, the only solution is to have more and more excellent graduates like Rivka and Tarik. Indeed, building on this JHH initiative and their success, KCE has now enrolled 70 other Ethiopian students. It is a small part of the 3300 student population, but it is a start.

We also sponsored two students in KCE’s certificate program, “Parenting an Israeli Child,” for immigrant parents. Kess (Ethiopian “rabbi”) Samai and Havtam are eager and enthusiastic students from Ramat Eliyahu.

Havtam told us that she thought she knew all about parenting until she started the course. Now she is so excited about sharing what she has learned with other Ethiopian parents. She has volunteered her whole life since she arrived here 30 years ago. She taught two classes – one for men and the other for women – so the other parent could stay home for child care. Now the fathers could learn to take some responsibility at home, as well. “This education is the greatest gift I have ever received,” she tells us.

Her sessions as well as Kess Samai’s have created a real buzz in the community as all of the parents want to increase their skills and improve their relationships with their children.

Their salaries as Certificate holders will be quite good as they continue to be wonderful role models.