Not every investment pays a dividend. Here is one that does. A wonderful journey for individual students and a huge bonus for Israel’s health system.

On the back of our outstanding success in supporting the cohort of Hadassah Australia Ethiopian Nurses through our Scholarship Program, we now have the opportunity to support the new cohort of young Ethiopian students, 10 or whom are in Nursing with four in Occupational Therapy. Not only has this program opened a unique personal pathway for young Ethiopian-Israelis to achieve their life’s dream of working in healthcare, but Israel’s short supply of Nurses and OTs is being answered

It’s thanks to the financial support of many Australians that full scholarships for 15 Ethiopian students were allocated in 2020. This will allow them to study at the Henrietta Szold Hadassah - Hebrew University School of Nursing.

This is the preeminent nursing course in Israel.

Now the university has decided to reach out to young Ethiopians in search of suitable candidates whose interest lies in Occupational Therapy (OT) as a career. In 2021, the university has created an opportunity for four Ethiopian students to join the Achotenu-Nachshonim OT program alongside their Nursing friends.

“Achotenu has been a remarkable success,” says Ruth Ramone Rosen, Executive Director of Hadassah Australia. “It has given hope to young Ethiopians who felt their dream job was beyond reach. And it has given hope to the healthcare industry, which is facing a lack of nurses at one of the most conflicted times in Israel’s history.

“The university believes the ‘process’ will work equally well with OT, a profession that is also facing a shortage of trained practitioners. The industry is already seeing a spike in demand for OTs as COVID patients experience long-term after-effects.”

Staffing for the new rehabilitation facility being built at the Mt Scopus campus is also uppermost in the minds of hospital administrators and the university.

The Story of our Esther

The take-home message from Purim is one of courage and determination, and Esther is central to that.

In contemporary times, it’s Esther Wassi, one of six children born to Ethiopian olim that resonates with the same themes.

Esther, one of six children, was recently accepted by the Hebrew University’s Department of Occupational Therapy by undertaking the ‘Mechina’ preparatory year – rather than the psychometric exam. It was this exam that created a roadblock for young Ethiopians wanting to study nursing and gave birth to the new program.

The same alternative process has been applied to Ethiopian students wanting to study OT.

After undergoing days of intensive alternative assessment and evaluation examinations, Esther began the one-year preparatory program comprising a myriad of courses to prepare her for the academic track.

Like the small group of ‘pioneering’ students who joined her, Esther has adapted well to the zoom lectures, and was grateful for the recorded sessions so she could review the material at her own pace.

She is also happy to be living in the university ‘dorms’, which allows her privacy, quiet and intense studying time. That is the focus, and there are no distractions.

Esther says, “My dream is to graduate, work in the field and gain experience… and then to open my own occupational therapy clinic.”

Ruth Rosen says, “It’s thanks to our wonderful supporters and donors that young Ethiopians like Esther and her brothers and sisters in the nursing stream are able to enter their profession of choice and build the healthcare industry of their adopted country.”

“We ask you to give generously to this remarkable project which is changing lives, creating hope and setting up a future for young people who until now thought their choices in life were limited.”

To donate to the program, go to https://www.hadassahaustralia.org/donate/ethiopian-nursing-scholarships/