During the course of the five months in which I lived in Tel Aviv, I met myriads of people who often had polarizing opinions regarding my country of origin, my language, accent, religion, political affiliations and so fort, yet not surprisingly most of the people I met seemed to share my opinion that my reason for being in Israel was truly rewarding. Nothing made me prouder then to state the fact that I was volunteering as an intern for World WIZO and it is amazing how that alone helped connect with people because they also understood the importance of WIZO.
Growing up I never knew about the existence of WIZO because Ecuador does not have a federation and therefore my first contact with WIZO was through research for an internship program in Israel. When I read about both the history and the work of this organization I was convinced I had found my place. Luckily Annette Crandell, Deputy Director of World WIZO Fundraising Division, seemed to agree and organized a truly amazing internship program for me there. Therefore every working day I went to the WIZO headquarters in Tel Aviv and helped in the office with everything and anything I could get my hands on, such as proposals, picture reports, letters and certificates Although at first, most of what I was doing felt slightly abstract, after my first trip to a WIZO Day Care Centre I was even more convinced of my devotion to the WIZO cause. Visiting the actual places where the everyday magic of WIZO happens is nothing short of daily miracles and heart melting moments. There is nothing like seeing a toddler’s face bright up when he receives a hot meal or admiring the amazing and creative ways the caretakers find to teach children how to express their emotions. Therefore when I was sitting on my computers working on the picture reports or proposals, the fact that my work was allowing a child’s life quality to improve was all the motivation I needed to stay a little longer at the internship.
Visiting the WIZO projects was truly something amazing where I had the opportunity to interact with the women, children, youth and families that benefit from WIZO and really understand how essential each volunteer’s work is. At the same time working with the ladies in the WIZO headquarters was a real treat and everyday I learn something from these amazing women, whether it was the effect of media on teenagers or role of gender violence in the army. Even at the end of the program when everyone else had already finished their internship I worked a few days longer because of how meaningful it felt to go to sleep knowing that someone else is sleeping a little easier because of WIZO.
Everyday that I had the opportunity to be an active participant in the change that WIZO is creating in society was a privilege and I look forward to continue my commitment and work as a WIZO chavera.
Melissa Sholem- Ecuador