In the Echad program, Bedouin mothers are given the tools to help their children grow and learn

Like many traditional Israeli Bedouin Arab women, Fatima saw her role as limited to preparing food and keeping house. For years, she would walk by the local preschool, afraid to go in. When she finally worked up the courage, she was amazed by what she saw: mothers playing games with their children, reading aloud to them, and delighting in their company. What Fatima saw was the Federation’s Echad Program in action. At Echad, mothers are given the tools to help nurture their children’s emotional growth, as well as develop their cognitive and motor skills. “When I opened that door, my life started again,” Fatima said. “Now I play. I get books and read with her. I pretend to do it for her, but it’s really for me.” The lack of early childhood education has led to high dropout and unemployment rates in the Bedouin community, keeping Israeli Bedouins in a perpetual state of poverty. Through Echad, we are working to break the poverty cycle, thereby strengthening Israeli civil society as a whole. A strategic partnership between the JDC-Ashalim, four government ministries, and the Federation, Echad is a cornerstone of our work in Israel. Echad focuses its work in six Israeli cities, including Bedouin communities in the South, and a Druze village in the North. To date, more than 8,000 children, 3,000 parents, and 800 early childhood education professionals have been helped by Echad. In fact, the program has proven so successful, that it now serves as the model for the Israeli government’s initiative to reach at-risk Arab-Israeli children of pre-school age.

Echad program

Categories: Israel

Posted

April 15, 2010

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