Super User

Super User

Thursday, 28 March 2019 11:55

Straight Facts Volume #25

All my life I dreamed of attending a seminar or conference on women’s rights and empowerment at the prestigious European Union building in Brussels. WIZO made that dream come true. 

Now that I live in Belgium, and as an AVIV representative, I had the honour of attending the WIZO Belgium -Luxembourg International Women’s Day Conference in Brussels at the European Union Parliament on the 15th of March 2019 as part of the WIZO Antwerp delegation.

The theme of the event was ‘Success as a Woman’.

Varda Cywie, President WIZO Belgium - Luxemburg and her committee, organized the event. Over 70 women attended the event from all social and cultural circles of Belgium, including a fascinating panel of women of success, including World WIZO Chairperson Prof. Rivka Lazovsky.  Other WIZO leaders joined us from our European federations, including Ronit Ribak Madari - Chairperson of WIZO UK, Diana Paola Lévy - President of WIZO France, and Nicole Faktor - President of WIZO Germany

eu parliment 3

World WIZO Chairperson Prof. Rivka Lazovsky (far right) with the WIZO Representatives at the European Parliament

I was deeply moved by the topics of the day, especially as a young woman trying to balance life in all aspects of being a woman, in what is currently mostly ‘a man’s world.’ 

Some of the highlights were, meeting the lovely WIZO women and representatives from various EU and the UK federations. The atmosphere was warm, friendly and supportive, with a deep sense of sisterhood. 

Most important were the messages that came through during the panel discussions.

As an AVIV, I took the following points away from the overall theme of ‘success as a woman’: 

1. To keep sight of the WIZO vision, agenda and mission, and as a WIZO AVIV to be aware at all times of the reasons we do what we do. The vision, agenda, and mission, guide us in all our WIZO AVIV endeavors. Namely fundraising, education, lobbying, legislation, legal aid, women’s rights, social care, social development, gender-based violence support, prevention, treatment and care for victims and perpetrators; and in general, improved broader social development for Israel. 

2. We discussed being a successful woman in a ‘mans world’, and that it can be achieved through resilience, perseverance and the correct balance and support within the workplace and home environments.

3. Psychologically, success as a woman was examined. What was clear from the discussion was that a woman’s awareness, sense of connection, self-care and balance between professional and home life is subjective and is driven by what motivates us as individual women.

4. Women of all ages, especially during our reproductive years, can be mothers and professionals when we choose to challenge the status quo and existing gender biases in the professional and home settings

We all learned a huge amount and the day ended with new connections having been made and ideas being exchanged. It was a wonderful event! 

I would like to thank Varda Cywie, President WIZO Belgium - Luxemburg, as well as Nathalie Miodownik, President of WIZO Antwerp for taking me under their wing. 

marie and

Marië Joshua-Querido (right) with WIZO Antwerp President Nathalie Miodownik 


Marië Joshua-Querido

WIZO Belgium-Luxembourg AVIV

Spanish follows English

My name is Dekel Shaki, currently doing a volunteer year at WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim before beginning my military service in the IDF.

I live in Lotem which is n the north of Israel by the Sea of Galilee, with my parents and three siblings.

In high school, In addition to graduating with full matriculation, I chose to major in photography and completed my project with excellence.


For the  past few years my dream has been to volunteer at a boarding school for at-ristk youth before starting my mandatory IDF service and I feel so lucky to be able to do my service at WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim in Haifa, a boarding school serving children at the far end of the at-risk spectrum. 

We, the volunteers at WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim, received a lot of preparation going into this year and I had never imagined how amazing the experience would be.

So, how does it work?

The group of at-risk youth we volunteer with, consists of up to ten teens and six staff members- three instructors, a housemother, one volunteer and a social worker.

My role in the group is to be an big brother figure for the youth, to help, to give advice and just be there for them.

The age group I work with is 16-18 and at that age, it is important for them to have a positive male figure that can help them prepare for the life ahead of them. As an big brother figure they confide in me and I give advice and guidance about all their interests, from how to take care of technical daily issues to what to wear and more personal matters.


Being this close and personal with the group also means that we are exposed to many uncomfortable or even violent situations. Our role is to react and manage those incidents maturely with the tools we acquired. We are not protected or shielded in any way, so we see and are exposed to everything that goes on in the youths' life.

This year volunteering at Ahuzat Yeladim is an emotional rollercoaster with successes and crises. Every day brings new surprises and difficult situations but this challenge is exactly what I am here for.

So who are the youth at Ahuzat Yeladim?

They are really amazing teens that simply crave some attention, someone to take an interest in them, a kind word now and then and someone to provide clear and stable boundaries for them. It is impossible to imagine what they went through and what they have to deal with having no home to return to and no parental figures for guidance and reassurance. They went through and are still going through life rattling experiences and they need us to be there for them. Being close to their own age enables me to bond with them and speak at eye level. I try to give the advice I think my parents would have given to me and try to complement, encourage and hug them because they deserve it. What they have gone through was not by choice.

So what is our daily life like?

We start the morning by waking them up with huge smiles and positive energy, helping them get ready for school, taking them to breakfast after which they walk to school. When school is over for the day we wait for them and take an interest in their day, how it went, ask if they have anything to tell us, ask if there were any problems or better yet any successes. We give this interaction our full attention and the day continues with laughter, hugs and personal conversations. Before bedtime, they put everything in their rooms in order and we talk about the following day. We say good night and the day is done.

Every weekday there is some arranged activity, everything from activities meant to teach values to sports, news, fun, studying, useful life knowledge and current affairs. In addition, ever week on a specific day we have a group meal including cooking in a group together, setting the tables, eating together and after having a laugh and relaxing a bit, cleaning up afterwards and rearranging everything. This meal is meant to break the daily routine and learn some self-sufficiency.

There is nothing more satisfying, fun and heartwarming than that hug the youth give you at the end of the day.

It sounds simple so far... but it isn't!

We go through really hard days when we see them in very difficult situations that come from difficult memories or things they are going through now. This is where we find ourselves helping the most, by being supportive, giving some proportion, listening and trying our best to figure out how to help. Many times is can be despairing because you know that there is only so much you can do, but we try to remember that this is a situation that can become worse, but also be better. These experiences are the ones that stay with you and reamin the sharpest in your memory.

Also, sometimes the youth ask questions I have no answer for, like:

"What will I amount to?"

"Do you believe I can change?"

"Will I have a steady job when I am older?"

So I don’t have all the answers, and nobody does, the best I can do is believe in them, love them and support them. Being with them every day all day tends to make you protective and think that you would do anything to give them what they need, but what they need the most is love and support and that is what we are here for. To help them achieve their dreams, to hug them and to be a role model while they are here.

Dekel Shaki
Volunteer at WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim (March 2019)

Dekel Shaki, un modelo a seguir

Soy del kibutz Lotem, en el norte de Israel, junto al Mar de Galilea, donde vivo con mis padres y tres hermanos. En la escuela secundaria, me gradué con matrícula completa y me especialicé en fotografía. Terminé la escuela secundaria con excelencia y excelentes calificaciones.


Actualmente estoy a medio camino de mi año de voluntario* en la Escuela Internado WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim, antes de comenzar mi servicio militar obligatorio. Durante los últimos años, mi sueño ha sido estar donde estoy ahora, como voluntario en una escuela para jóvenes en riesgo.

Nosotros, como voluntarios en WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim, recibimos mucha preparación este año, pero nunca me había imaginado lo bueno que sería. Trabajo con un grupo de 100 adolescentes de 16 a 18 años junto con otros seis miembros del personal: tres instructores, un ama de llaves, un voluntario y un asistente social. Mi papel en el grupo es ser la figura de hermano mayor, un modelo a seguir para los jóvenes. Estoy aquí para ayudar, para dar consejos y simplemente para estar para ellos cuando me necesiten.

Es importante que este grupo de edad tenga una figura masculina positiva que pueda ayudarles a prepararse para la vida que tienen por delante. Como figura de hermano mayor, confían en mí y yo les doy consejos y orientación. Hablamos sobre sus intereses, desde cómo enfrentar los problemas diarios hasta consejos de moda y otros asuntos más personales. Estar en contacto directo y personal con el grupo también significa que estamos expuestos a muchas situaciones incómodas o incluso violentas. Nuestra función es reaccionar y gestionar esos incidentes con madurez con las herramientas que hemos adquirido. No estamos protegidos de ninguna manera y estamos expuestos a todo lo que sucede en la vida de los jóvenes.

Este año es una montaña rusa emocional con éxitos y crisis. Cada día trae nuevas sorpresas y situaciones difíciles, pero este desafío es para lo que estoy aquí. Los jóvenes con los que trabajo son increíbles. Simplemente ansían algo de atención, alguien que se interese por ellos, una palabra amable de vez en cuando y alguien que proporcione límites claros y estables.

Para mí, es imposible imaginar por lo que han pasado y con lo que tienen que lidiar con el hecho de no tener un hogar al que regresar y ninguna figura paternal que les proporcione orientación y tranquilidad. Han estado y están pasando por experiencias de muy difíciles y nos necesitan para estar ahí para ellos.

Estar cerca de su edad me permite vincularme con ellos y podemos hablar como iguales. Trato de darles el consejo que creo que mis padres me habrían dado. Realmente, trato de felicitarlos, animarlos y abrazarlos, porque se lo merecen. Lo que han pasado no fue su elección. No hay nada más satisfactorio, divertido y reconfortante que el abrazo que te dan al final del día.

Algunos días son realmente difíciles cuando los vemos en situaciones que provienen de recuerdos o cosas que están pasando ahora. Aquí es donde nos encontramos ayudando más, al brindar apoyo, dar cierta proporción, escuchar y hacer todo lo posible por descubrir cómo podemos ayudar. Muchas veces nos desesperamos porque sabemos que no podemos hacer mucho, pero tratamos de recordar que esta es una situación que puede empeorar pero también mejorar. Estas experiencias son las que te acompañan y están siempre presentes.

A veces me hacen preguntas para las que no tengo respuesta, como "¿Qué será de mí?", "¿Crees que puedo cambiar?", "¿Tendré un trabajo estable cuando sea mayor?" No tengo todas las respuestas, y nadie las tiene, lo mejor que puedo hacer es creer en ellos, amarlos y apoyarlos. Estar con ellos todos los días todo el día me ha hecho ser protector y haría cualquier cosa para darles lo que necesitan, y lo que más necesitan es amor y apoyo. Para eso estamos aquí, para ayudarlos a alcanzar sus sueños, abrazarlos y ser un modelo a seguir mientras están en Ahuzat Yeladim.

*Dekel Shaki es voluntario en WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim. Shaki esta cumpliendo una año de voluntariado antes de enrolarse al EDI. Este año se denomina en hebreo Shnat Sherut (año de servicio y los voluntarios son llamados cariñosamente shinshin.

WIZO Durban's youngest and newest branch, Ahavah Tahorah, held an incredibly successful inaugural event last Saturday. They hosted an Outdoor Movie Night at The Umhlanga Jewish Centre, complete with buttery popcorn!


Led by Tyra Nackan, these young wonder women approached us to start their own fundraising group. Tyra Nackman's mother, Mandy Nackman, is also a committed WIZO woman and was part of the 2018 Aviv Young Leadership Mission. It is an inspiration to see how WIZO really does run in the Nackman family!


Tyra Nackman selling snacks


Movie-goers enjoying the show

Since their inauguration in Chanukah 2018, these young WIZO women have been planning their first fundraiser.  A stormy night was no problem for these tenacious young women! A giant inflatable screen was mounted on the deck whilst moviegoers where kept snug undercover. Copious amounts of fresh popcorn, hot chocolate, chips, sweets and cold drinks were on offer.  The Greatest Showman was screened and was a big hit with one and all!

Proceeds of this amazing initiative will be going to their specially chosen beneficiary, the WIZO Chorley Day Care Centre in Israel who are in desperate need of a new floor and general repairs. We wish them every success and many years of doing acts of ‘chesed’ and connection to Israel as young WIZO Women. 


Ahavah Tahorah members selling sweets


Stay tuned with their activities here: WIZO Chaya Aviv Durban Facebook -

Be in touch with the global Aviv community here: World WIZO Aviv Facebook -


Friday, 08 March 2019 12:36

WIZO UK: Chairman's Mission

Monday, 04 March 2019 12:55

WIZO Mexico: First Activities in 2019

Thursday, 07 March 2019 10:35

3GM: A Mission for WIZO Around the World

Wednesday, 06 February 2019 12:42

WIZO USA: WIZO Florida's 25th Anniversary Gala

Thursday, 06 December 2018 12:17

WIZO USA: Florida - Kosher Food & Wine Miami

Page 9 of 92