|Two Israeli Firsts Contribute to Parenting and Literacy|
In order to address the almost complete dearth of knowledge about learning disabilities in the Ethiopian Israeli community, Shatil recently initiated a series of six Amharic language radio programs as a first step in raising awareness and providing information for parents of Ethiopian origin. Two education professionals of Ethiopian origin conducted the shows in an accessible manner that spoke to Ethiopian immigrant parents, using metaphors and fables from nature and agriculture, an important part of Ethiopian communication and culture.
Because the community has been traumatized by the tragic mishandling of children of Ethiopian origin with learning problems --they are too often sent to special education schools without the parents' informed consent --the presenters provided thorough explanations of the differences between learning disabilities and special education, about the positive, helpful things that can come out of a diagnosis, tips for dealing with the problem, where to turn for help, and more.
The programs reached more than 90% of Ethiopian immigrant households, according to Radio Reka manager, Mehari Reuven.
It was evident by the flood of telephone calls to the station as well as to the two presenters, Melkamu Yakov, Supervisor of Rural and Boarding Schools and Youth Aliyah and Teje Daniel, an educational counselor, that the broadcasts hit their mark.
In addition, the Ministry of Education's Administration for Rural Education and Youth Immigration, which runs the country's boarding and agricultural high schools, committed funds to replicating Riding the Wave, a literacy model developed by KAMEK, Absorption of Immigrants from the Caucusas Regionthrough Shatil's Back from the Edge project, in all its schools.
Batya Drobiner, the director of the language learning unit in the Administration, said, "I saw this program working and I liked what I saw. I felt it would work for other immigrant pupils in addition to the children from the Caucusas region of the FSU. I observed KAMEK teaching the model to teachers and I said, Wow."
Riding the Wave strengthens language-learning skills among immigrant youth through structured and engaging interactive lessons that proved their effectiveness in the pilot project.