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Israel: MEGEMERIA - YVEL - Jewellery making

The MEGEMERIA School of Jewellery

Israel - the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, the Schoenbaum Family Foundation, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, the Baron de Hirsch Fund - 2012-2013

The MEGEMERIA School of Jewellery is an example in the development of a 4th sector business model in Israel.

The business approach aims to achieve a social goal while establishing an income producing enterprise that can employ graduates and continue to train unemployed new Ethiopian immigrants.

The school was established by Orna and Isaac Levy, owners of the YVEL Design Center, which creates top of the range Jewellery.

The school is operated by YEDID, an experienced, non-governmental organization. YEDID has assisted over 250,000 families in Israel attaining social and economic justice through advise, social and legal advocacy and providing employment skills.

The MEGEMERIA School of Jewellery provides extensive studies in Jewellery making. Graduates of the course are then invited to work at one of two companies:

  • the YVEL Design Center, in the area of Jewellery design;
  • or as an employee at the social enterprise MEGEMERIA (meaning Genesis in Amharic), which produces and sells the work of the students and the graduates.

The revenue of the business will provide funding for the school and the employees. MEGEMERIA will ultimately become a self-supporting business that will employ many of the school's graduates.

World ORT is a full partner of YEDID and YVEL in the project.

Organization

Established in 1997 to promote social and economic justice in Israel, YEDID is the only national organization providing Israeli citizens with free legal, economic and community organizing tools to break the cycle of poverty. YEDID's mission is to empower both veteran and immigrant Israelis to become self-sufficient, civically engaged members of society.

The MEGEMERIA School of Jewellery and Social Business, is a hybrid of philanthropy, social entrepreneurship and business, aiming to create an economically sustainable enterprise with a positive social impact.

Project Goals and Objectives

The goal of the MEGEMERIA School of Jewellery is to assist Ethiopian immigrants in their integration into Israeli society.

The 2013 objectives are the following:

  • To train 21 Ethiopian trainees in Jewellery manufacturing upon completion of the national goldsmith certification.
  • To help them acquiring a level of proficiency in Hebrew speech, reading, and writing enabling them interacting in the Israeli workplace.
  • To assist students in overcoming challenges related to integration in society including finances, or family problems. A full time social worker will accompany the trainees along the all process.
  • To provide a job opportunity in Jewellery-making immediately after graduation, either at the YVEL Design Center, or at MEGEMERIA.

Project Activities and Methods

The new class of 21 students has began training on January,15, 2013

Study Program

The 21 Ethiopian Immigrants participate in a 12 month course. The Jewellery program includes a seven month introduction to the elements of Jewellery making, including gold- and silver, gem setting, design process, and other subjects related to Jewellery production. The course is designed to bring participants to a level of skills enabling them to undertake successfully the 5-month accreditation course in Jewellery making of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. Mentors, chosen among the Yvel workers accompany the students along the entire period of study.

Concurrent to the skills training, culture and lifestyle courses provide the students with the tools needed to become equal, socially involved citizens, and to positively influence their families and communities.

These courses include:

  • Hebrew Language Proficiency: Five hours, twice a week, for six months.
  • Family Budget Management Training: Sessions are led by a trained financial management facilitator, and focus on prioritizing expenses, keeping a personal and family budget, engaging family cooperation, and improving income.
  • Participants receive a living stipend, completing the National Insurance unemployment grant to the level of the - Minimal salary - of $1.000/month.

MEGEMERIA : The business plan developed for MEGEMERIA predicts passing into profit by the second year. Ultimately, MEGEMERIA will employ many of the school's graduates and will become a self-supporting business. Profits will be reinvested in MEGEMERIA School of Jewellery, thereby reducing the amount of support needed each year.

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