Jewish Social Action

The Jewish Agency's ALMA Academy in Midst of Personal Freedom Scholarship Campaign

The campaign will help send young, underprivileged women to the pre-army preparatory program - and positively change their lives forever.

The Alma Preparatory Academy for Female Leadership , a 6-month academy for young Israeli women before they enter the Israeli Defense Forces and embark on their next stage of life, is in the middle of an important donation campaign.

Since its launch on April 17th the campaign has raised over $8,500 of it's goal to reach $30,000. The campaign will end on May 15th.

At Alma, which is sponsored in part by The Jewish Agency for Israel, young women from underprivileged backgrounds gain the self-confidence and leadership skills needed to change their life trajectories for the better. The 40 or so participants from each cohort go on to serve as role models for their friends, acquaintances and family, and positively impact Israeli society in the geographic and socio-economic periphery. 

"I was always too shy to speak, too timid to look people in the eye," says Stav Ben Abu, from Beit Meir and an Alma alum. "Now, after graduating from Alma, I am an instructor in the Israeli army."

In Israel, IDF units serve as barometers for young Israelis' futures for years to come. Just like attending a reputable university in the United States can lead to better career opportunities, increase social status and provide for an impressive resume for the rest of one’s life, so too, is the prestige of one’s IDF service. It can either open doors for years to come, or, in the case of low level positions, shut those doors forever. By providing underprivileged women with 6 months of studies, hiking, volunteer service, and physical training, Alma significantly raises their chances of desirable assignments, as well as giving them a tremendous boost of self-confidence. In addition, Alma works with the IDF to place alumni in challenging, prestigious army roles.

When founder Michal Barkai knocked on the doors of schools in low socio-economic areas telling them about the leadership academy for women, most teachers and administrators slammed the door. They proclaimed that their students were “no leaders” - not recognizing the great potential some of these women had. What these women were missing was the opportunity for their potential to be unlocked.

Each year, many more girls are in need of this academy than can currently be accommodated. This year, Alma has thirty-three students, twenty-one from a secular background and eleven from a religious background, coming from fourteen different cities. Forty women have been accepted into the program for next year - and all are in need of full or partial scholarships. With your help, all of them will be able to attend Alma and benefit from this life-transforming experience.

Donations of any size are being welcomed with open arms.

To learn more about the campaign and donate, click here

"I grew up in a residential youth village for high-risk children," explains Hagar Avidar of Jerusalem about the program's importance. "During Hanukkah, we (at Alma) packed food baskets for needy families and I started to cry - for the first time in my life I was on the giving end of charity."

09 May 2016 / 1 Iyar 5776 0
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