Girls born into families on the social or physical periphery of Israel are often faced with challenges beyond the normal hardships of poverty, neglect and abuse. They also suffer from gender stereotypes of inequality and inferiority which suppress a girl’s natural drive to succeed and destroy her self-confidence.
WIZO works to counter this phenomenon and to empower these girls to believe in themselves and reach their full potential. Otzma Tze’irah is a program consisting of seventeen groups of 9th grade girls-at-risk all across the country and from all populations. The girls suffer low academic achievement, poor social integration, and lack of self-esteem due to their familial and social circumstances. Often, they exhibit emotional, behavioral, and eating disorders.
The girls in Otzma Tze’ira have no support system to help them counter their negative feelings and behaviors. Without a program to show them their options and worth, these girls are at great risk of dropping out of school, leading a life of self-destructive behavior, and continuing the cycle to the next generation.
With Otzma Tze’ira, the girls are given a total embrace- physical and emotional. With counselors who listen to what they have to say and basic physical comforts such as warm food and a safe place to be, the girls begin to open up. They learn of their individual values as well as that of women in society overall. Their worldview changes, as does their vision of the future. The dynamic series of lectures, workshops, and intimate conversations on subjects such as domestic violence, gender issues, body image and more, help the girls release the bonds of their earlier notions and empower them to reach for their goals. Trips, workshops and group activities promote social skills and teamwork Rehabilitation plans are tailored to each group. Feedback and evaluation show improvement in participant’s social skills, academic achievement, and matriculation exams. Important to full integration in to Israeli society, the rates of IDF enlistment and completion of service have been high for our graduates.
Why We Need You
Otzma Tze’ira has succeeded in reaching girls on the verge of giving up and has shown them that their futures are worth fighting for. WIZO plans to expand the program to 30 branches in 2014. This will enable us to save another 400 girls a year.