Agri Davit – 23 years old, born in Ethiopia, made Aliyah when she was a year old. She is the oldest in a family of five siblings and currently lives in Beer Sheva.
Tovah Adhani – 32 years old, program coordinator for Lamerchak Beer Sheva, BA in criminology and Masters in social work.
Agri - "I grew up in Beer Sheva. I did my full military service as an assistant in the medical corps. I started working in an electronic factory and then I became interested in continuing my education but I was in need to help deciding what to do, and how to set goals. I don’t have an older brother or parents who grew up here who can help me make the right decision. I looked online for programs and I found something interesting and new, so I called and made an appointment with Tovah.
In the beginning we had an introductory meeting, I filled out questionnaires and then we discussed what I am interested in and what background experience I have. Tovah is honest and straightforward, if we have a meeting it will take place no matter what. She is always in contact with me and sends me messages, and we sit for coffee to catch up even before our meeting. Tovah essentially asks me what are my strengths and weaknesses and more so that she can help advise me and help me every step of the way. She even updates me and follows up with me. I feel like she is always next to me helping me the whole way. Although I am still not sure about my academic path, I learned a lot about myself and how to set goals. I finished my college preparatory course, participated in a Psychometry course, and received financial aid to continue my studies. This is a program that helps people grow and gives them individualized support, as opposed to group support where it is hard to express yourself. It is much easier to open up in private sessions. My goal today is first of all academic studies, even though my program is only a year and a half, I believe that I will stay longer. I want to succeed."
Tovah – "First of all, it is important to believe in yourself no matter what your situation, and if you believe in yourself, no one can help you if you haven’t done that first step. My initial inclination was to work with at-risk youth and ex-offenders, but after the person matures he begins to embrace his identity, this is why I chose to work with the community. I remember the first meeting with Agri, she arrived half an hour early after a night shift in the factory. I was sure she'd be late, but she was alert and ready to go, I never would have guessed she was coming from a night shift. I remember she was very excited because she did not know what she was going to be."
Agri – "My voice was shaking"
Tovah – "When I walked past her sister, I discovered and it quickly became clear that this woman was serious and didn’t need an extra push, rather she just needed a direction. She had the motivation to integrate into high-quality employment, software engineering or law, but she needed someone to help her get organized. What's more, within months she was signed up for a college preparatory course, and she finished her assignments without reminders from me. Our meetings flew by – a young woman 22 years old starting to learn, with financial aid, and was able to pay for her studies from the money she saved working at the factory. She realized she wanted to choose the direction of computer/software engineering, so we knew she would have to get a high Psychometry score and we started organizing a work plan. Of course she was already signed up for a Psychometry course and even received the Yoel Geva grant."
Agri – "This was the best guidance I received."
Tovah – "Today she is finishing her studies and will register for academic studies. She is now an ambassador for Lamerchak and helps direct her friends to our program. There is often criticism about these programs that are directed for a specific ethnic group, but when the guidance we give is individualized, and we understand their needs, there are positive outcomes. I am not labeling Agri as someone in a specific ethnic group, I am looking at her as the motivated and hopeful woman she is."
Agri – "This is the foundation for success."