Ameinu members and supporters know that we work closely with a select group of Israeli grassroots activist organizations to support their efforts to create a more just Israeli society. I recently had the opportunity to meet with Sari Revkin, the dynamic Executive Director of YEDID, one of those organizations. YEDID operates through a nationwide network of Citizen Rights Centers and Satellites, staffed by a dedicated team of professionals and expertly trained volunteers. What is truly impressive about YEDID is that, in addition to the amazing work they do in some of the most economically challenged communities in Israel, their philosophy of empowerment is transformational. They not only help those most in need, but they also empower their “clients” to become volunteers in YEDID centers and engaged members of society.
And this brings me to the new project I heard about from Sari.
Together with the Yvel Design Studio, a top-of-the-line jewelry business, YEDID has created the AB School of Jewelry & Design which offers Ethiopian immigrants an opportunity to acquire the art of jewelry making and diamond setting. Graduates go on to work for YVEL or for a new social enterprise, called Megemeria, which means Genesis in Amharic.
From the YEDID website:
“Students of the AB School of Jewelry and Art learn the basic tools of gold and silversmithing, gem-setting, design processes, and other professions related to jewelry design and manufacture. The program of study includes a preliminary program of 9-12 months. The preliminary course gives an introduction to the many elements of jewelry making and is designed to bring participants up to a level where they will be able to undertake a five month course in jewelry making approved by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, after which the students will take the Ministry certification exam.
Students, all recent Ethiopian immigrants, receive mentors who are already working in Yvel to coach them throughout the period of study. While learning the trade, the students receive supplementary classes in order to give them the tools to become equal, socially involved citizens and to positively influence their families, communities and even Israeli society overall.
Upon graduation, students will be offered work in one of two businesses. Graduates may begin working at Yvel’s Design Center either in jewelry design or in sales and administration. Alternatively, they will begin an internship in “Megemeria”, a newly launched social enterprise that sells the work of the students and provides additional income to the school. Ultimately, Megemeria will employ many of the school’s graduates and will become a self-supporting business.”
More on this initiative can be found here.
I think this is a great example of a social business venture and should be supported. The jewelry store and school are located on the main road to Jerusalem in Motza and if you would like to stop in to buy some of their beautiful, Ethiopian inspired designs or schedule to bring a group, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Michal at 02-6735811.
Let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Chag Chanukkah Sameach.