The Village Way’s Mechina programmes are dedicated to preparing immigrant students and children of immigrants for the Israeli army.
The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) is one of Israeli society’s most prominent institutions, influencing the country’s economy, culture and political scene. National military service is mandatory for all Israeli citizens over the age of 18 and the role and rank obtained has a huge influence on their ability to find future employment and access the right networks.
For many immigrants or children of immigrants, language, education, emotional stability and family upbringing can create barriers to a successful career in the army. This may mean low-level positions with limited personal development and little chance of progressing through the ranks to more senior roles. As a result, opportunities for employment once completing army service are far more limited, which then creates a whole series of socio-economic challenges and perpetuates cycles of poverty.
Youth Aliyah Child Rescue believe that every child, no matter where they come from, is entitled to the same opportunities to succeed as their peers whilst in the army and after their service. In support of this belief, the Village Way created our ‘Mechina’ programme – specifically developed for immigrants of deprived backgrounds to help them climb from survival to leadership.
Our Mechina programmes aim to show every student that they are capable of leadership, in the IDF and later in life. Here they are given tools to boost their self-esteem, and support with numeracy, literacy and practical skills that enable them to reach a more level playing field with their Israeli born peers. The programme also helps to build a spiritual connection with, and pride in, the country they will serve during their time in the army and beyond.
We run two separate programmes, one for men and one for women.
Our ‘Mechina Pre-Military Leadership Programme for Men’ has been operating since 2000. The year long programme now has over 500 graduates who have found strength, confidence and success from their participation.
In 2013 we launched ‘IsraElite’, our empowering Mechina programme for young women. This intensive 10-month programme brings women from the margins of Israeli society together, preparing and encouraging them to take on leadership positions within the IDF.
"When I arrived at the Mechina, I had no self confidence, but over the year I began to believe in myself. ...Now all I want to do is to make Israel a better place.”