UJA Federation of Greater Toronto has helped to launch an innovative nursing program for young adults of Ethiopian origin. The first cohort has 35 students aged 21 to 42, both men and women, all from Toronto’s partnership community of Bat Yam.
“The program addresses two needs simultaneously,” explains Laura Kindler, UJA Federation’s representative in Bat Yam, a low-income town just south of Tel Aviv.
“First, it is helping to address the severe shortage of nursing staff in Israeli hospitals. Second, it is giving Ethiopian immigrants a respectable profession with a guaranteed employment track for its graduates.”
Developed in conjunction with the Ministries of Education and Health, the course is taking place at Wolfson Hospital in Holon.
Esther Peron, Deputy Mayor of Bat Yam, welcomed the students on their first day of studies.
“Today marks the first step in your training to become registered nurses,” Peron told the students. “We recognize the rigorous demands that this training requires and will do everything we can to support you. Your success will be a salute to the nursing profession and to the Ethiopian immigrant community.”
Anah Taparah, one of the students, explains why she is eager to become a nurse.
“It's a combination of wanting to help people, a deep admiration for the nurses I know, and the fact that the profession has high social status and economic security. As a nurse you get to touch people’s lives when they need you the most. Being able to care for a person and help them restore their health is a reward in itself.”
Anah, who is married with young children, is looking forward to being able to help support her family. “Getting through nursing school won’t be easy, I know that. It will be hard to balance family life, studies and making ends meet. But this program provides amazing support, and I am determined to succeed. I am excited about the challenges ahead.”