Becoming a Woman in a New Land Empowering Young Ethiopian Girls Ruth Bitton Midwife,RN,BA Western Galilee Hospital, Nahariya, Israel The Ethiopian population in Israel Ethiopian Jews in Israel: 130,000 Percentage of the General Population :1.75% Languages: Hebrew , Amharic , Tigriniya Demographics: Central 39.6 %, South25%, Haifa 18.8% , Jerusalem 6.1% Largest population: Netanya 38% of Ethiopian women, ages 25 - 54 are in the labor market, 68% of other Israeli women of the same age group. 62% of Ethiopian families have no income. 72% of Ethiopian children live in households below the poverty line *Israeli association for Ethiopian Jews Two major waves of Ethiopian Immigration “Operation Moses" (1984) “Operation Solomon" (1991) REFUGEE CAMPS BETA ISRAEL POPULATION The long journey from Ethiopia to Israel is one of physical hardship but also social, economic and cultural hardships. Preserving and letting go Bridging the gap between the rural life in Ethiopia and the modern western culture in Israel is a major challenge for Ethiopian immigrants RECOGNIZING THE NEED FOR EMPOWERMENT Becoming a woman is an important stepping stone in every young girl's life. For young Ethiopian girls in the midst of cultural confusion the challenge is even greater. Key factors such as body image, self esteem, sexual integrity and social integration can become jeopardized by cultural insecurity Becoming the Woman I Can Be The Program 10-20 girls between 11-1 3-4 meetings 3 hours each meeting AIMS Creating a learning experience focused on Empowering young Ethiopian girls as they approach womanhood. Offering knowledge Enabling expression of thoughts in a supportive and safe atmosphere Honoring the unique characteristics of the rich Ethiopian culture The First Meeting Getting to know ourselves My Body Exploring body image through life size body murals .Done in small groups this a chance to mingle and get to know one and other in a relaxed atmosphere .The murals enable participation without a language barrier and are accompanied by an abundance of color and excitement The Murals Common characteristics A holistic approach The "spirit" is often depicted throughout the body resembling a cloud. Visual depictions of feelings, fear, love,etc Ethiopian artist Mickaël Bethe-Selassie Internal body perceptions of Ethiopian Jews who emigrated to Israel Ravid,Spitzer,Tamir,Granot,Noam Western Journal of Nursing 1995. . *Ethiopian children reported fewer body organs than did Western children. *Ethiopian children and adults, did not think about the body in terms of biophysical functions. *They perceived the body as a holistic system *A divine providence is responsible for body organs working together harmoniously Our bodies presentation Anatomy Menstrual cycle Hygiene Nutrition The Second Meeting A woman’s Gift Bearing life The Miracle of life presentation Fertility Pregnancy Childbirth The Secrets We Keep Exploring the sensitive subject of issues we hide, taboos, fears and secrets. Setting a stage on which the girls feel they can share issues that threaten or potentially threaten their wellbeing. Defining Trust What is trust? Identifying someone we can confide in Honoring our feelings. Developing emotional safety is a key issue during this part of the program. My soul mates Each girl shares with the group who her soul mate is. Most girls choose to name their mother. I encourage them to find an additional soul mate, not a close family member. This is of utmost importance due to emotional vulnerability and even the possibility of abuse in the family. Asserting our rights Saying Yes Saying No I AM HERE! I AM IMPORTANT! The Third MeetingThe stories we share Sharing experiences and memories. Stories from Ethiopia are welcomed with pride and often the classroom becomes a stage for wonderful dancing and song Role modeling Sharing my own personal experience as a young girl coming to Israel and how I chose the path of becoming a nurse and later a midwife. Shifra and Puah The Hebrew midwives an example of courage Most Ethiopian Jews are observant and reference to the bible is very meaningful. Empowerment Developing Confidence We discuss our dreams, who we are and want to become. The girls compliment each other on their special attributes, give praise to each other. They share their dreams and offer suggestions for success and fulfillment. My Gift A beautiful collection of pictures , poems and words of appreciation written and presented to me by the girls from the first program, Maalot 2010 Pics from booklet • Conclusion This is a program of the heart. As it develops I am aware of the need to expand. With this understanding this year the program was offered to a neighboring community. In the future I would like to see such programs integrated into the school curriculum. It is my belief that efforts that focus on empowering girls as they become young woman are a welcome and worthwhile social investment. Pnina Tamnu Shato Knesset Member 2013 Hagit Yassu Winner Israeli “Idol” 2011 Dr Adis Malda Mitsri First Ethiopian female Doctor In Israel Yityish “Titi” Aynaw ISRAELI BEAUTY QUEEN 2013 YES WE CAN!!!