Meketa Newsletter April 2016
Carpenters at work…. an apprenticeship to a better future
Meketa is sponsoring 4 young men from the Jewish community through a carpentry course: Amara Atinkot (28), Adana Delasa (25), Menewyelet Dagu (23) and Bekale Fante (28), all of whom have completed grade 10 at school. They were chosen from a large group of possible candidates who would like to learn a trade, and are the envy of their friends. They are about to finish their 4 month carpentry course and will spend a couple of months as “interns” with an established carpenter to get experience of the trade. After this we will help them set up as a small cooperative and earn their livings. Importantly, it is a trade that is just as much in demand in Israel as in Ethiopia as people always need furniture and repairs, so our students are happy that they will be able to work hard and provide a steady income. One lives with his mother and is the main provider for her and his three sisters; another is married and has also been making simple mattresses in his spare time to supplement his income. For all of them the course will make a big difference to their lives as they were previously working as day labourers and had a very meagre and unsteady income.
Improving the after school compound to make it safer
We plan to build a couple of showers and additional toilets in the Meketa compound to provide a healthier environment for the children using the club facilities. We also wish to provide concrete floors for the temporary classrooms as their floors get dusty in the dry season and very muddy in the rainy season. Donations to help us achieve this would all be welcome.
Pesach is coming
Matzah making is a busy outdoor event in the club compound for the week or two before Pesach as there are no packets of commercial matzah to be bought in Gonder - they are all made by hand on site. As they have to make for the entire community of over 1,400 families that means a very limited number per family – and last year we were told that for many Pesach is a time of less food than usual, as the normal diet of injera and a lentil or chickpea stew is halted for the week – but there is very little to replace it. So at the after-school club, staff cooked up a big pot of potatoes each day to fill the children with a quick easy and cheap Passover food, along with fresh fruit for added nutrition; we will be doing it again this year.
Destitute fund We need to help provide for a few older couples or individuals who have no one to care for them – so we set up a “destitute families fund” to give one off help to individuals at times of crisis or sickness but there will also be a need to help support people in the longer term. We are looking for regular donations into this fund to help us provide long-term help for the elderly, ill and disabled. .
Volunteers are always welcome Fighters For Life are an Israeli charity who give young people the chance to volunteer abroad after their army service We are hosting them in Gondar: not only will they provide a couple of very special weeks at the After school club, but they will also repaint the club house and carry out other improvements, and help to re-build the wall of the cemetery together with members of the community. www.ffl.org.il
Report on Aliya As you may have heard, last November, the Israeli government announced that the final 9,000 Beta Israel on the government lists for Aliyah would be brought to Israel within the next five years. A committee was set up to arrange the details, but before they could publicise their recommendations, another government bill ensured there would be no budget for it. The government therefore rescinded on the agreement. Two Likud party Members of Knesset protested by refusing to vote woth the government (the Likud coalition currently has a majority of two). As a result the government agreed to bring over 1,300 Ethiopian Jews this year. However, no agreements have been arranged for the rest and the two MKs are now to be punished for their rebellion by not being able to give speeches in the Knesset or put forward bills for debate for a period of time. This means that the situation regarding the Beta Israel is off the agenda for the time being.(you can read more about the political drama here) We know there are many more than 9000 Jews in Ethiopia, and the work of Meketa will continue for years to come, but until the Aliyah is complete, our focus will remain with the families who wish to emigrate to Israel and have not done so. It is important that Meketa continues its work supporting education and livelihoods, which includes skills that will be useful to beneficiaries if and when they move to Israel.