laptop and diary
By Laurina Driesse

Life at times takes unexpected turns. For a young single mother, such turns can crush her dream of providing her children with all they need. Or they can cause an older mother to buckle under the reality of being alone in her fifties and struggling with a low-paying job. Yet, there is hope!

Confidence is gradually being restored to single mothers across Israel who are currently on social welfare, unemployed, or earning less than 5,500 shekels ($1,580) per month. With the ICEJ’s support, many of these Israeli mothers from all backgrounds and cultures have received the opportunity to participate in a vocational training program, especially aimed at lowering the poverty rates for Israeli single mothers and low-income women who are struggling to provide for their children.

The recruiting, screening and mentoring process for participants to gain employment can take up to 12 months. Each course is offered by professionals and consists of both practical and theoretical studies. The courses are selected according to the needs of the market, so that by the end the mothers will have acquired marketable knowledge and skills.

Soft skills – such as negotiating, writing a CV, time management and preparing for interviews – are also offered in a special workshop at the end of the course. The recently completed course trained the women to be insurance agents and gave them the certification required to enter the insurance field. Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for Aid and Aliyah, was invited to take part in their graduation ceremony.

“It was a joy to hear from the women about their hopes and dreams for the future”, shared Nicole. “I was able to congratulate them on their success and perseverance in completing a difficult course and let them know that we were excited about the new opportunities this certificate will offer them. I also was thrilled to let them know how the sponsorship came as a gift from Christians around the world who wished to strengthen them and their families. We are confident that they have a bright future ahead of them!”

Online course

Happy to see that most of the women successfully completed the zoom course, the program’s instructor Shimon urged the women to be confident in what they have learned, saying: “Step out! …When you enter the workforce, you’ll remember the material, as you begin using it.”

He also encouraged them that the insurance industry, in particular, seems to have a shortage of workers in Israel right now.

“There is a lot of work. Companies are begging for workers. So, it is a good time to look for work and get established. Jump in! Even in a part-time position. Often these positions become permanent. When you are in the water you will learn to swim”, Shimon assured, adding that positions for work in Jerusalem were already arranged for three of the new graduates.

Some of the women also shared their experiences from the course.

“In the beginning, I was pretty skeptical, lacking in confidence and fearful”, remarked Shachaf. “I wasn’t sure that I would understand. I was afraid about going to work and not being able to be independent. In the end, I did understand and will be happy to continue in this field and on towards employment. I need a change. I really enjoyed the course.”

“I liked that the course was only four months and felt that it was very focused and good”, explained Vered. “When Shimon started giving us questions for study and review, I found that very helpful. It was a lot of material, but the example questions helped me a lot. I liked that the course was focused – short and to the point!”

“I found the course interesting, intensive, and a challenge at a very high level. It helped me a lot”, shared Yehudit. “Thank you for everything and especially to the donors for this opportunity. It’s good to know that they are looking for workers with training. I’m about to have a baby so will have to wait a little before I can look for work. This course was better than I expected… I’m very happy that I had this opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Nicole spoke with Aviva, one of the first women to find work. She shared how she had to give up the job, as it was a good distance from her home, and she feared that she would not measure up to working in a large office. This stress caused her to seek employment closer to home in the safer environment of a smaller office.

“For many of these women, it is a matter of gaining confidence and I imagine that once she proves to herself that she is able, I believe that she will move into other positions which will be better paying”, assessed Nicole.

Thank you for your support in helping the ICEJ meet the needs of these struggling mothers as we seek to strengthen and support more disadvantaged families in Israel.

Please continue to give to our ‘Future and Hope’ fund at: