This blog post was written by social work student Aviva Tadese. Aviva is one of the Operation Solomon immigrants, who made Aliyah in 1991 from Ethiopia to Israel with her mother and three brothers. Her father remained in Ethiopia and passed away there. Here is the story of her path to the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Haifa.
“I chose a social work career, because I experienced first-hand the assimilation process into Israeli society. I went through difficulties and faced challenges myself. Through the years, I have been assisted by many and benefited from them. Thus, I realized that it is because of those good people I have encountered along the road that I managed to survive.
I felt the strong desire to give back to society the assistance and tools I received from my neighbors and acquaintances. I notice many around me who are suffering in this world and in our society. Thus, I chose to practice social work, particularly community social work, in order to make a difference.
Since I believe that assisting individuals requires providing a variety of solutions and change of policy for people in the community- providing tools, assistance and guidance, facilitating them in helping and empowering themselves, or, metaphorically speaking, giving out fishing rods, teaching them to fish and obtain food on their own, rather than supplying them the fish to eat.
In my eyes, social work is a sacred profession.
The Social Work studies at Haifa University provided me with knowledge and tools to make a difference and in turn, provide treatment to a variety of populations. The school emphasizes practice; one learns how to implement the academic knowledge. We learned to academically analyze cases from the field. I learned how powerful words may be in treatment; how important it is to introspect and mind what goes on within me while facing others. The school emphasizes understanding the multicultural setting that characterizes Israeli society. Through this learning and insight, I realized that although I was part of the Ethiopian community, I still acquired many other tools for intervening in other multicultural communities.
The teachers at the school are attentive and sensitive to the students, fully collaborating with the field instructors. The lecturer who greatly influenced me is Mrs. Tamar Ben Shimon, who constituted an inspiring model for a social worker.
During my third year, I underwent my community work field training at Leo Baeck Community Center. Liron Naveh, my supervisor, possessed vast knowledge and empowered me by providing me with many tools for field work. I had the privilege of developing a community project.
I established a leadership program for teenagers in a diverse, low-income community which consisted of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, as well as second-generation Israelis.
The program included workshops on building personal confidence, and acceptance of others. The program culminated in a celebration of the participants bar/bat mitzvah. 350 Community members were invited to the event, and many said it was an important event for their community.”
The leadership program mentioned above continues as a volunteer group where teens work together to promote the well-being of their community.
Presently, Aviva is employed as a social worker and community coordinator at The Ethiopian National Project. She supervises adolescent promotion programs for Ethiopian adolescents, as well as social, academic, and family success. Aviva supervises the adolescents on dropout prevention through excellence and involvement in numerous processes affecting their lives.
Aviva fulfilled her dream to become a social worker. In her work, she contributes greatly to the fulfillment of adolescents’ dreams, implementing her professional work to assist in their successful integration into Israeli society. Aviva strives for social justice and equality, promoting programs integrating the diverse communities and ethnic groups in Israel.