For one afternoon in February, the WIZO Pardes Katz bigudit (second-hand clothing store) temporarily doubled as a photo studio. Students from the prestigious Shenkar College of Engineering and Design came to photograph some of the local children, most of whom are from Ethiopian families, who come to the WIZO Pardes Katz center daily for after-school tutoring.
The initiative was part of a joint project between WIZO Pardess Katz and Shenkar. Last week, the 15-portrait photo exhibit officially opened at Shenkar, with the all the young subjects in attendance. Representing WIZO at the opening were WIZO Israel Chairperson Gila Oshrat, Director Sarit Arbel and Fundraising Director Poly Meschiany.
“It’s such a thrill for these kids to see themselves up on the walls here,” said Racheli Mangoli, Chairperson of WIZO Pardes Katz, who accompanied the children to the opening. “It gives them a great sense of pride, which is so important.”
“This project was not just an empowering experience for the children, it was also an eye opening experience for the student photographers,” Noa Spector, the exhibit’s curator added. “Although Shenkar is located near the Pardes Katz neighborhood, most of our students are unfamiliar with it. This initiative enabled them to experience and interact with a different community.”
WIZO Pardes Katz: Turning Around Lives of Thousands of Ethiopian Children
Situated in an area of economic hardship near Tel Aviv, WIZO Pardess Katz represents diversity and inclusion at its best. Established by Mangoli in 2006, she continues to run the learning center and "bigudit" with the help of many dedicated volunteers. She describes the center as not only “the lifeblood of the community” but also contributing greatly to the wellbeing of the youth who would otherwise not have the space and opportunity to learn and play in warm, safe surroundings. It is no exaggeration to say that the center has completely turned around the lives of thousands of Ethiopian children.
Now, thirteen years later, there are over 100 children who receive one-on-one tutoring in math, English and Hebrew at the Bayit BaPardes (the Marie Nahum Centre, Sponsored by WIZO UK - Manchester) after-school tutoring facility. Thanks to a recent generous donation from WIZO Denmark, WIZO Pardes Katz will be able continue to run its vital programs for local Ethiiopian youth in the coming years.
Children play a computer game at the WIZO Pardes Katz after-school tutoring center
Lifetime Achievement Award
In 2015, at WIZO Israel’s conference, Mangoli was given a lifetime achievement award recognizing her dedication and achievements. She has been singled out as both a role-model for other WIZO volunteers, a reflection of WIZO’s values, and an example of what women’s empowerment can produce in Israeli society.
“Thanks to what I learned through WIZO, I've succeeded in attracting numerous volunteers who work with great dedication in order to help the Ethiopian community's children. Thanks to WIZO, these kids see the beautiful side of Israeli society."
The student photographers and their subjects at the Shenkar exhibition
Photo Credits: Shenkar College of Engineering and Design