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The Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel numbers over 144,000, of which 22,000 were airlifted to Israel between 1984 and 1991. Although a number have risen to enjoy economic success, tragically, half of this community currently live below the poverty line, with Ethiopian Israelis experiencing substantially lower levels of education and employment compared to the rest of Israel’s population.

Hadassah Hospital has long been a pioneer in nursing education. In 1918, Hadassah established the first post-high school educational institution for young women in pre-state Israel, later to become the Henrietta Szold Hebrew University School of Nursing. Marginalised and underprivelaged Ethiopian Israelis require a pathway to full integration and economic prosperity, The Achotenu program provides the means by which members of this community can gain access to a tertiary nursing degree and by extension, access to a steady and stable income. 

Empowering tomorrow's nursing workforce today

To encourage Ethiopian-Israelis to complete their higher education in nursing, Hadassah, together with several other organisations, has developed the Achotenu Scholarship Program. Meaning our sister in Hebrew, it provides an alternative pathway for young Ethiopian Israelis, female and male, to enter the university degree program. The nursing admission committee identifies candidates who are highly motivated, believes in themselves and their capabilities, have an aptitude for healthcare as a profession, and feel passionate about nursing. 

Following successful admission, the scholarship recipients then attend: 

1. Pre-Mechina: This is a one-year innovative pre-academic preparatory program that provides each of the Ethiopian Israeli nursing candidates with the essential knowledge and skills necessary to achieve a higher education. 

2. Mechina: Students who pass the pre-academic courses at Hebrew University are automatically admitted to a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the prestigious Henrietta Szold Hebrew University School of Nursing.