NIF grantee Economic Empowerment for Women has been awarded the Knesset’s Prize for Quality of Life. The organization raises the socio-economic status and self-esteem of women by enabling them to become economically independent by setting up their own businesses.
Established in Haifa in 1997, the organization has given its “Your Business” courses to 2,800 women around the country, while 600 graduates have also received funding for their businesses.
“There are 1,100 new businesses operating today in Israel by women thanks to our organization,” explained Limor Butnaru, the project coordinator. “Many of these businesswomen were previously dependent on welfare payments.”
Natalie Rubin (right) one of the founders of Economic Empowerment for Women and one of the graduates of "Your Business" course, holding the award in the Knesset.
Typically the businesses are in the arts, education, catering, cosmetology, and healthcare. Many of the women are single mothers and divorcees without a second income to help support their families.
For example, Nirit Ofer undertook a “Your Business” course in Rishon Lezion several years ago. A single mother with three children, she was referred to Economic Empowerment for Women by the municipal welfare services because she was struggling to financially support her family.
“I now own the kindergarten where I previously worked as an assistant,” says Ofer proudly. “This is something I always wanted but I was scared to do. The course gave me so much confidence and so many ideas, and if I have questions I have somebody to turn to.”
Over the next few years Ofer plans on increasing the number of children in the kindergarten from 15 to 23 and opening a day care center for infants.