Ethiopian Family Violence Prevention

There are approximately 5,500 Ethiopians living in Kiryat Malachi today. The transition from a rural, traditional society to an urban, modern one has resulted in the breakdown of family structure, loss of parental authority, poverty, neglect, alienation, inability to communicate between spouses, parents and children, and is especially acute among teens substance abuse, crime, prostitution, and other anti social behaviors with a documented increase of violence in the family. With a grant from Tucson, the Welfare Department in October 2010 hired an Ethiopian family and youth therapist with proven abilities to prevent violence. Zahava Baruch, an Ethiopian family therapist, in conjunction with the Kiryat Malachi (KM) Welfare Department treats the most traumatized Ethiopian families. Her expertise and cultural competence has literally saved lives, marriages, and relationships as well as the most alienated teenagers. The Ethiopian community continues to struggle with issues of domestic violence, parenting lacks and the inter generational gaps. As a result, many women, children and youth are at high risk for a tendency of drug and alcohol abuse and violence. The lack of trust of Ethiopian parents in the educational system and the welfare system creates even more difficult and sometimes even dangerous situations for the children and women. Zehava’s unique abilities and knowledge (she travelled to Ethiopia to became acquainted with the diverse cultural nuances in different villages) enables her to reach the family, regain trust in the system and facilitate the receiving of help and support. This project provides coaching, training and support to families identified by the welfare department.