Helping Israelis with Disabilities Cook their Way to Success

When it comes to measuring the success of JDC’s chefs course and similar vocational training opportunities for people with disabilities in Israel, the proof is in the pudding.

Over 85% of the 450 people enrolled in this program since its inception have completed their training course; three-quarters of them are already working in their chosen field, with 62% holding the same position for more than a year.

Developed under the auspices of JDC’s multi-year TEVET Employment Initiative with the Government of Israel, this innovative program helps disabled adults get the training they need to secure employment in a rewarding and market-driven field.

Working in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Health and the National Insurance Institute, JDC created a course platform that would facilitate the participation of people with mental, physical, and sensory disabilities. Enhancements included adding more practice sessions and extra faculty members to work one-on-one with participants.

An emotional ceremony was recently held at Rimonim College in Tiberias, Israel, for graduates of the latest edition of the course.


With their families proudly looking on, graduates spoke feelingly of their initial qualms about signing up for chefs training. They described the challenges many of them had to overcome as training proceeded, and expressed a real sense of victory at attaining their professional certificates.

Speaking on behalf of her fellow graduates, Tamar told a story that resonated with everyone present:

“I am 30 years old, a mother to a wonderful daughter, and I live with a personality disorder. A few years ago, close to the end of my second year of study toward a university degree and while holding down employment, I suffered a serious breakdown and was hospitalized.


I started to lose faith in myself, gave up on any possibility of securing new employment, and stopped believing that ‘I can.’
 


A year ago, my therapist told me about this course for special needs participants. I was skeptical at first, but I agreed to try it out for a few days, then a few weeks, then a few months….


In the end, my year’s experience here restored my self-confidence and my belief that ‘I can.’ I succeeded in studying again, in securing employment again, and in remaining committed to something to the very end.
 


I know how much effort and energy this has required from all of you. But if you succeeded in reaching this point and completing the course, despite all the difficulties and disabilities, you, too, can do anything!"

To learn more about JDC programs to empower Israel’s future, visit: http://www.jdc.org/where-we-work/israel/.

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