Fidel Social and Educational Mediators work diligently in order to encourage greater parental involvement and foster a supportive environment, breaking down cultural and social barriers. Many parents are unable to assist their children with schoolwork. Teachers struggle at coping with common obstacles hindering the success of Ethiopian pupils.
The Mediator Program has served as a major catalyst for change and has transformed the approach of the school system towards Ethiopian students. The program has strengthened the ability of parents to support their children and has sensitized the system to the community’s needs. The dropout rate has decreased by 98% over the past two decades and academic achievements have improved significantly. Parents are more active in the educational process and the number of pupils matriculating has increased.
Due to the success of the initiative to aid olim students, the Mediators program was adopted and implemented by the Ministry of Education within schools throughout Israel. The program was adapted in order to aid the integration of immigrant children from the former Soviet Union, France and South America.
Fidel’s school-based mediators serve as a resource to the Ethiopian community and as agents of social change. The program is implemented over the course of the school year, with special activities during the summer vacation. They work with the following groups:
- Students: Individual and group meetings, both planned and spontaneous; creation of personalized plans and on-going follow-up.
- School leadership and teaching staff: Meetings with educational and placement committees; with teachers and counselors; coordination of interventions.
- School community: Promoting Ethiopian Jewish culture, planning and supervising events involving the entire school community.
- Parents and community representatives: Home visits; parent meetings; initiating parent workshops at school.
- External agencies and institutions: Liaising with community youth workers and with city truancy representatives to develop plans for alternative frameworks for students.