|Transforming social workers into agents of change – and other SHATIL trainings|
|Written by Ruby Ong|
As a child, Elisheva Katz learned the importance of helping others from her religious family, and she became community social worker focusing on helping immigrants to help themselves. After participating with colleagues in a SHATIL course run in collaboration with the Haifa Municipality, the Ministry of Welfare and the Social Economic Academy, Elisheva feels she is now in a position to help not only her clients but also her colleagues – and herself.
"The course transformed our thinking," she says. "It showed us that the phenomena we see in the field are a result of social and economic policy decisions. I always assumed decisions were made exclusively by the policymakers. I learned that I, an ordinary citizen, could influence policy."
This transformative experience was one factor in Katz's decision to run for office in the social workers union and to join it as a leading officer. With other young leaders, she is working to make the union more transparent and responsive to the needs of its members.
As a result of the course, Katz and other graduates are, with SHATIL guidance, taking colleagues through an employment empowerment process that they can then take to their own clients. Another group of graduates trained blind people in Haifa to run a campaign that fights for their rights.
The Haifa municipality is so impressed with the results of the course that it is now planning to send all 300 of their municipal social workers to it. The recently announced second round of the course was flooded with applicants.
Among the dozens of other recent SHATIL trainings: the Internet for Social Change; a professional course for social change fundraisers at Sapir Academic College; social change and disabilities; and Young Women Leading Change.