Pilot Program Trains Arab Women to Work in Nursing

On Sunday, October 1, the graduation ceremony of the first course for the training of Arab nursing workers in nursing homes for the elders will take place at Hillel Yaffe...

On Sunday, October 1, the graduation ceremony of the first course for the training of Arab nursing workers in nursing homes for the elders will take place at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center. The course included 72 hours of theoretical study, and 48 hours of practical training in three large geriatric centers in Hadera and Netanya. Twenty-nine women, of the 34 registered, successfully completed the course. They are from villages in Wadi Ara, and Jisr Az-Zarqa. At the ceremony, they will receive certificates from Hillel Jaffe and should find work soon. The success of the pilot program, and the numerous requests from other women to take part in the project, shows that the potential and desire of Arab women to work in Care is enormous.

The course is the product of cooperation between Tzafi Hillel-Diamant, National Director of the Implementation of Geriatric Standards at the Ministry of Health, and representatives of the workers’ organization, WAC-MAAN. The connection was made at a session held by the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee in the Knesset on March 2, on the issue of manpower shortage in old age homes. On the agenda was a suggestion to allow foreign workers to work in nursing homes and geriatric centers, in addition to their current license to work just in private homes.

Care course participants at a geriatric center, 22.9Amani Kaadan, representative of the WAC-MAAN branch of Baka al-Gharbia, suggested to integrate and train unskilled Arab women in the profession of Care, instead of bringing in foreign workers. She talked about the shortage of jobs for Arab women in the Arab communities. “The project can generate real social change in Arab society where only 33 percent of women work,” said Kaadan. “The project has the capacity to integrate many women into the work force, and empower them economically and socially.” Tzafi Hillel-Diamant picked up the gauntlet and arranged the pilot within a few months in close cooperation with WAC-MANN.

The course aroused immense enthusiasm. Dozens of women enrolled in the course, and more than 20 women expressed interest in taking part in the second course, even before registration began. The graduates of this course are very excited. A resident of Arara, a mother of five, said: “I’ve always dreamed of being a nurse. The course was very intense, and although I am not qualified as a nurse, I felt I had fulfilled a dream.” A mother of seven from Baka al-Garbia said: “I have taken many courses, but they were mainly a waste of time. This course had an academic ambiance, and I really enjoyed the practical work.”

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