Women's Empowerment

The women of Lod are leading advocates for a higher quality of the life in the city. They go to work, manage households, are deeply in touch with the needs of their communities, and yet too often lack adequate representation amongst neighbourhood leadership.  

The significant populations of Ethiopian-Jewish and Arab women in the Old City area make it a premier target area for establishing innovative community building initiatives as part of a larger process of increasing social mobility and breaking cycles of poverty. 

Jindas' women's empowerment programs fill resource gaps and forge a shared sense of community ownership, pride, and strong social bonds. As a result, women with talent and potential feel increasingly motivated to invest in their community' future. 

Highly engaged neighborhood women play critical roles in improving quality of life for vulnerable populations, ensuring that residents feel a stronger sense of safety and belonging, and encouraging the next generation to become the drivers of ongoing community development processes.

Ethiopian Women Empowerment Group

This initiative evolved from an existing group of over 25 local Ethiopian women. Today, the group meets regularly for participant-determined special interest workshops. A professional organizer works to empower and support group participants to advance their own program ideas and initiatives. Meetings have also included instruction in traditional jewelry making and culturally-expressive cosmetics. Group meetings engage members on neighborhood matters and draw previously disengaged residents into an active community.

Arab Women MiniActive Workshop 

This program is geared towards the local Arab community with a focus on Bedouin women. By shifting the focus of social change to the local level, residents become advocates for changes that make a significant difference in the daily life of their community. Women meet regularly and identify tangible fixes they wish to make in their environment such as repairing a downed street light or improving garbage collection on their city block. These small changes around a neighborhood add up to meaningful change and the expansion of an active group of women with stronger ties to each other, the municipality, and local agencies responsible for serving their neighborhood.

Yahel Israel and Matnas Chicago Cultivate Women's Empowerment through Creative Writing
By Alexandra Menter
 
On January 11, 2017, Jillian Gogel, a participant on Yahel Israel’s 2016-2017 Social Change Program, led her first creative writing workshop with the Arab women’s group at Mosaic: Lod Multicultural Center. Jillian initiated the project as a part of her volunteer placement at the community center and to address the lack of English language ability in Ramat Eshkol.
 
Numerous Arab women from Ramat Eshkol and other neighborhoods in Lod attended the event. As each participant introduced themselves by name, age, and something about them that wasn’t immediately recognizable, laughter, jokes, and light heartedness filled the room. It was immediately clear that everyone in the room was not only excited to participate in the event, but to share with the other attendees in spite of language barriers.
 
Jillian instructed the Arabic and Hebrew speaking participants to write down three words they knew in English, and the English speakers to write down three words they knew in Hebrew. Due in part to the lack of tourism in Lod, fewer Arab and Jewish locals speak or understand English. Similarly, volunteers or expats from foreign countries have weaker Hebrew and Arabic. Thus, while Israel experiences high levels of tourism year round, peripheral cities like Lod are either ignored or remain undiscovered. In its own small way, Jillian’s workshop filled linguistic and cultural gaps by creating a space for people from multiple backgrounds to converge and practice a foreign language. Dooa Zabarqa, one of the Community Coordinators at the Lod: Mosaic Multicultural Community Center was very excited about the women’s positive responses to the event. “The women felt very good about it” she stated, “This project is very meaningful to them because they care deeply about learning and practicing English.”
 
Most importantly, the enthusiasm, care, and genuine kindness of the attendees made the event truly special. Each local woman showed immense and sincere excitement about practicing English, learning about each other, and becoming closer friends. Anyone can ask non-native English speakers to complete simple writing and speaking exercises, but the inviting and compassionate energy of this workshop created more than a space to practice languages, it created positivity and empowered the community.

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