Preventing Poverty Through Education: Narrowing Gaps and Encouraging Excellence among Disadvantaged Populations
Access to quality education is critical for Israel’s growth and the picture today is grim for children and young adults living in Israel’s periphery. This year the JCF provided $885,000 to support ten programs that address critical needs in this core area; current recommendations would provide $860,000 in continued funding. The Neurim program for young Druze
is one such program.
Neurim Program: Partnering for Equality of Opportunity among Young Druze
The Druze community number approximately 120,000 and are concentrated in 13 villages in Israel’s North. With very limited access to opportunities and resources, unusually high unemployment rates and significantly low scholastic achievement, the Druze community suffers disproportionally, especially given their loyalty to the State and participation in the Israeli Defense Forces. The Druze are also struggling with the transition from traditionalism to modernity and the challenges of integrating the two is especially affecting the youth.
The program adopts a comprehensive approach to the needs of young Druze. It designates a physical space in each village to serve as a hub for quality activities including the full spectrum of youth—from youth-at-risk to youth with potential for academic excellence. Educational activities at these Centers focus both on narrowing educational gaps and at insuring that youth with high potential to excel are provided with the resources to do so. In addition, the program provides after school leisure and enrichment activities completely absent from Druze communities and guidance on higher education and career choice. Finally, the program places significant emphasis on leadership development, community service and volunteerism and activities are facilitated by participants in a full-year volunteering program implemented by Maase
, a nationally recognized organization.
Preventing Poverty Through Job Training and Employment
The strong correlation between education and employment extends across religion and gender; the fewer years of school, the lower the employment rate. Specific social problems, including poverty and discrimination, have obstructed access and opportunity. This year the JCF provided $425,000 to support seven programs that provide vocational training in technology, engineering and design and opens doors to securing lasting employment opportunities; current recommendations would provide $485,000 in continued funding. Ofek Nashi
is one example.
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