Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW)
During her pregnancy, Tal’s husband, Yoni emerged from prison more violent than before. An 18 year old bride in an arranged marriage in Iran, Tal found herself alone with a violent husband when her family left the country to escape the revolution.
At 37, Tal escaped to Israel with her 4 children, aged 4-17. Yoni followed her and started drinking, becoming more violent and self-harming in front of the children. The police and social services became aware or the situation and sent Tal and her children to a WIZO Shelter.
The expertise of WIZO professionals helped Tal find her strength and care for her children. During her 8 month stay at the shelter, Tal started working at a WIZO daycare where she has been for 17 years. Tal found an apartment and the confidence to move on with her life. Her children have been to university and the army, and like their mother, are happy and contributing citizens.
For nearly 100 years, CHW supports World WIZO and Shelters for Battered Women; helping to ensure women are protected, advocate for their rights, and instill a sense of hope within women in need.
Tal’s story illustrates the critical impact Israel and WIZO Shelters have on people’s lives. Israel provided a place of refuge for Tal and her children, allowing her to escape persecution and danger in her native country. She and her children were absorbed and their needs were taken care of by the state, helping them to enter a shelter that enabled this family to have a second chance at life.
(Story originally from World WIZO. Tal’s name has been changed for confidentiality)
Annually, the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, honours soldiers and officers with the highly esteemed President’s Award of Excellence that awards soldiers for their devotion to duty and professionalism.
120 recipients were recognized; among them were three graduates from the dormitories of CHW Hadsssim Children and Youth Village: Paulina Rodkovsky, Dan Golan, and David Svilder.
Paulina grew up in the dormitories at CHW Hadassim. While Paulina was born without her right arm, she always sought to have a typical life like her peers. At CHW Hadassim, she was always encouraged to pursue her dreams and overcome any challenges that would come her way. Paulina fought to join a prestigious unit in the IDF and wanted to serve the same service as her fellow citizens in spite of her physical disabilities. Today, Paulina serves in an elite unit and has received the highest honour from President Rivlin.
Dan received this award for the second consecutive year. Dan’s mother passed away when he was a little boy and he spent the early years of his childhood living in Be’er Sheva with his father, sister, and grandmother. His home environment was very difficult and so when Dan was eight years old, he arrived to CHW Hadassim. He first lived in the Family Unit and then in the dormitories. Dan shares, “CHW Hadassim made me the person I am today. I am a leader, I possess initiative, I am responsible, and this is all thanks to CHW Hadassim.” Today, Dan is part of the Israeli Northern Command. Dan shared, “Receiving the award was an honour and emotional; it was seeing all my hard work come to life.”
David is a Captain in the Golani Brigade. David arrived to CHW Hadassim without parents and in need of a loving home. Here, at CHW Hadassim he grew into a happy and confident young man. David knew he wanted to give back to his country and fought to join the Golani Brigade.
This is an exceptional achievement for each of these soldiers, CHW Hadassim, and Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW). Through your support, you nurtured these children at CHW Hadassim and helped to create the next generation of leaders who will contribute positively to the State of Israel.
This past week, both youth villages hosted graduation ceremonies for the grade 12 students.
At CHW Hadassim, 366 students graduated. As a result of your generous support, 63 students from the dormitories graduated.
Amongst the graduates, two arrived to CHW Hadassim when they were as young as seven years old, and CHW Hadassim is truly their home. David* and Mia* shared that their childhood and adolescence was spent at CHW Hadassim. Mia shared that “This is the most meaningful time of my life; I was always loved and cared for.”
This was an extra special ceremony, as it was the first group of graduates from our beloved Na’aleh Program. Gad is one of the graduates.
Gad arrived to CHW Hadassim three years ago when he was 15 years old. Gad recalls that during his first year, he was such an angry boy and very closed off. He had experienced anti-Semitism in France and never fit in at school. However, as Gad shares, “CHW Hadassim changed my life.” He turned from a negative child into a positive young man with hopes and dreams. Gads’ grades improved greatly from the time he arrived to CHW Hadassim; finding a passion for math and learning Hebrew. Gad has decided that Israel is his home and will spend next year volunteering before he enlists in the IDF to serve his country. Gad expressed, “The people at CHW Hadassim, my peers and the staff were such a wonderful influence on me and helped to make me who I am today. Thank you.”
At CHW Nahalal, Professor Rivka Lazovsky attended the ceremony that honoured 252 graduating students. This was a special ceremony as it also paid tribute David Horesh, Director of the youth village, who is retiring after over 20 years of dedication to CHW Nahalal.
*Names changed for confidentiality
Visit www.chw.ca/annualcampaign to support these and other projects that support children, healthcare, and women in Israel and Canada today!
Through the Nahalal-Anieres Program, barriers for young girls are being broken down. This unique program, which offers an education in engineering, has a 30% female student body, and is increasing annually.
Ira Lotman, manager of the Anieres Elite Academy shared, “Anieres gives girls from around the world the encouragement they need to pursue a career in engineering. They see for themselves that with hard work, the sky is the limit.”
This remarkable program provides children from both Israel and around the world with an accelerated education, a chance to learn at the prestigious Technion University in Haifa, and gives access to opportunities they would otherwise not receive.
Darya is one student from CHW Nahalal whose life was changed thanks to the Nahalal-Anieres Program. Darya came from a small town in Russia. She was raised by her grandmother as her parents were unable to take care of her. When Darya began school, it was immediately recognized that she was extremely gifted. Darya had a natural affinity to mathematics. However, she always wanted more; she felt that if she stayed in Russia, she would lack the opportunity to fulfill her educational and professional dreams.
When Darya was 14 years old, her family learned about the specialized Nahalal-Anieres Program and decided that this sounded like a wonderful opportunity for her.
Darya left home and moved to CHW Nahalal. She has been studying mathematics and learning Hebrew as well. Darya was doing so well that she decided to enroll in the National Mathematics Olympiad and won third place! Following her success, Darya participated in the International Mathematics Olympiad where she placed second! Darya’s story is one of success and opportunity.
Supporting children in need while advancing women in society has been a pillar of CHW since our inception, 100 years ago.
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A Romanian photographer has traveled to 50 countries around the world, to capture portraits of women; her project is called “The Atlas of Beauty.”
Through capturing women and hearing their stories, photographer Mihaela Noroc is emphasizing and celebrating diversity. This project broke down barriers and highlighted the importance of women being their authentic selves.
For 100 years, CHW has emphasized the importance of empowering young girls and women to celebrate diversity. CHW has advocated for women’s rights and to overcome discrimination and prejudices.
One way that CHW aims to combat these issues is through the Empowerment Program for Girls at-Risk at CHW Hadassim Children and Youth Village. This is powerful program reaches out to girls from the dormitories and family units who come from challenging backgrounds. These girls have not been given the support or the tools to overcome various challenges whether psychological, emotional, or physical. For this reason, this program is critical at for these girls. Via the Empowerment Program, teenage girls are taught to a sense of self-worth and confidence. These values and skills equip these young and impressionable girls with the abilities to tackle challenges that may come their way.