Jul 24, 2020

Update with Shirli & Mina - July 19, 2020

Na’amat Update with Shirli Shavit and Mina Shefi

Sunday July 19th, 2020

Mina Shefi was our special guest speaker for this call. Mina is the Director of Na’amat Israel’s Technological Education Network.

All the schools in Israel closed on March 15th.  At that time, no one knew what to do…. It took time to adjust particularly since children had to stay home until May 2nd . 

Dealing with the youth villages was more complicated than the regular schools.  The students had to return to the schools because there was so much turmoil at home.  Home situations that were difficult before, were worse now.  When the children came back to the youth villages, they were put into isolation, as required by the country’s protocols. However, they were isolated in groups, so it was not as harsh.  All in all, the situation in our schools was very difficult and CORONA-19 made the student’s difficulties worse. Mina began her talk with a smile but over time, her smile faded, exposing her own difficulties with coping in these trying times.

Mina showed us a list of the challenges each student faced at home.  Understanding the school material through distance learning was not easy.  If things were hard before, it was compounded. Many of the students needed the “in person” learning which was now impossible.  To make matters worse, some of the students had to go to work due to economic problems. Matriculation exams suffered.

The teachers also experienced many challenges.  One of these was the lack of on-site access to the students. As well, not everyone had access to computers.  And since the concept of distance learning was new, not all could understand how to make it work.  Teachers also found themselves adapting to their students’ schedules since many of the students were not always awake in the morning.  Understanding that they had limited access to their students, Mina pointed out that the teachers did whatever they could, nights, noon times, and one on one conversations to connect.  Parents appreciated these efforts.  One parent wrote a thank you note to thank the teachers for trying their best.  “Thank you for a year full of listening and strength” was one such phrase in the letter. At Ayanot Youth Village, the parents brought cakes to school to say thank you to the teachers. 

Parent Thankyou

Mina showed us a wonderful graduation video from Kanot.  The students were socially distanced, but they were still in their graduating lines and smiling.

The sense was that it was overwhelming and everyone did their best to make the best of a terrible situation.

Shirli’s update

General Situation and schooling

Shirli told us that the situation throughout Israel is now much worse.   She felt that the cause of this backwards movement was because young people went to the bars, causing the number of COVID-19 cases to spike. Israel is now considering another complete lockdown.  Next week, all the beaches and restaurants will be closed on the weekends but open during the week.  They are hoping that they can keep the daycare centres open because most parents have to work.  There is no issue about the regular schools because they are on summer vacation. Shirli felt everything  opened too fast.

Going forward, Shirli is expecting problems for next year.  She anticipates registration and funding issues.  People are worried they will not get their jobs back and because of this concern, they are not enrolling their children in the daycares.

Shirli made a point of saying that Na’amat is following all government recommendations.

The Glickman Centre

As mentioned in previous talks, domestic violence is getting worse. The Glickman Centre is doing a project in the form of a small play that highlights the red alert signs of domestic violence in the workplace.  The purpose of the play is twofold.  Firstly, it will help the Glickman centre get the word out about the counselling services.  Secondly, hopefully it will bring more money into the Centre.  This is very important because The Glickman centre is not getting the financing from the government that it once did.  Shirli said that there is not much workplace counselling available and they are filling a gap, so the Glickman Centre has put together a bundle of counselling services.   The Glickman centre is now a first priority because of the rise in the domestic violence.

We saw a video that showed the chaotic daily life of a social worker while working at the Glickman Centre.  Shirli has a lot of respect and admiration for the people who work there. 

In order for all of us to keep in touch with the actions of Na’amat in Israel, Shirli asked us to please connect to the Na’amat International site on Facebook.  Videos will be made available there. 

Doris and a lot of people thanked Shirli for joining us again. 

“Hope to see you again in a couple of weeks”.