Newsletter 33 - March 2021

March 2021 , KHA Newsletter- Vol. 33        הרשמה לרשימת התפוצה בעברית
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Dear Friends and Alumni,

Keren Hanan Aynor thanks you for your ongoing partnership and wishes you and your family a Happy Passover - much joy, renewal, fulfilment and good health!

Did you know?
This year:
71% of our scholarship recipients are women!
36% are enrolled in Masters Degrees programs
53% are Ethiopian born
Our students range in age from 24-58
Our recipients are studying in 46 academic institutions
across the country in over 90 fields of study

March 2021, KHA Newsletter- Vol. 33    הרשמה לרשימת התפוצה בעברית
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"Someone believes in me and wants me to succeed”
Serkalem Akal, age 27, Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology
2021  recipient of the Yona Bogale (z”l) scholarship generously donated by
Mrs. Susan Pollack & Mr. Gil Kulik
In my conversation with Serkalem, I am struck by her bravery, humility and maturity. She is bright, motivated and committed to her studies and without a doubt will succeed at them!
At eleven years of age, she made Aliyah from Ethiopia with her mother and siblings. One of her sisters joined the family in Israel six months later and one sister and her family remain in Ethiopian to this day.
She recalls her time at the absorption centre in Be’er Sheva with fond memories and a sense of excitement. After leaving the protected environment of the centre, the family moved to Bat Yam, a central Israeli town two years later.  This was a challenging time for her and the family and she describes the new found daily struggles of becoming more independent and assisting her mother with medical insurance, daily tasks and the desire to integrate more fully.
Serkalem attended a local school and was the only Ethiopian Israeli there. She learned Hebrew quickly and felt confident as a new student, even though she describes the academic level as above average.
When she speaks of those years, she sounds nostalgic and reminisces about being a strong student and actively seeking out learning environments where she was often the only student of Ethiopian descent.
She concentrated mostly on her studies and at the time, was not looking for a social circle.
In ninth grade, she decided to move to a new school where there was a larger population of Ethiopian Israeli students and made new friends easily.  In tenth grade, she moved schools yet again to Givat Washington which had a reputation for being stricter and upholding high academic successes. Her schooling was paramount and she wanted to succeed on her matriculation exams.
She faired all these transitions with ease and maintained a high academic average. She became more independent and mature. She enrolled in a psychology major in high school and claims that is the moment she became hooked on “the study of the soul”.
Upon graduation, she began her national service working with new immigrants in the nearby city of Holon.  She felt she didn’t have this opportunity as a young child and wanted to be there for other new immigrants to provide guidance and assistance in their new homes. Her service also involved work with the parents and she excelled in that role as mediator as well.
In her second year of service, she worked with deaf children in a first grade classroom in Tel Aviv.
Prior to beginning her Bachelor’s degree, Serkalem wrote her psychometric exam and worked for two years in an effort to consolidate her decision about what to study at University. Recalling her love for psychology in high school, she began her degree at the Academic College of Tel Aviv Yaffo and enjoyed her studies very much.  “It was like learning a new language” she claims, relating both to studying at the academic level and her psychology major. 
Challenges abound and she had to work harder to achieve the success she was used to in her younger years.  She was one of only two Ethiopian Israelis in the program and wanted to prove she could compete.  She did so with grace and confidence and achieved excellent grades. She spoke to me of the importance of training more psychologists and psychiatrists in the Ethiopian Israeli community and the cultural sensitivities required in order to reach the clients.
She spoke with a sense of drive, ambition and compassion and it is clear to anyone listening that she was born for this field of work. She is clearly committed to the process and won’t let anything stand in her way of success.  Being accepted into her Master’s degree program was rife with challenges and she is proud to be completing her first year. “This has been a journey…” she shared with me, “an important process of being committed to what’s important to me.”
Her admiration for the education program at Keren Aynor and the appreciation for her generous scholarship and its donors is palpable.  “Being a part of this program feels like family! Someone believes in me and wants me to succeed. It is an honour and I will make you proud.” 
We, at Keren Aynor, have every confidence that is so. As we told Serkalem last August when she began this degree,  we are here every step of the way as she navigates her Master’s degree – providing an ear to listen, support,  guidance and any accompaniment she might need!

Our students write:
"The scholarship I receive from Keren Aynor gives me the peace of mind to study and not worry about juggling various jobs. Thank you very much for helping me on my journey to receive my Master's degree."
S. N. , father of five, lives in Netanya, B.Sc.

"I'm so proud to be completing my degree this month.  Without the support of Keren Aynor, I wouldn't have managed on my own. Thank you for believing in me!"
I.C. single mother of two daughters,  B. A. in Social Work, Haifa
Keren Hanan Aynor is proud to support four Ethiopian Israeli students in partnership with We Code, an academic coding bootcamp training program for tech programmers.

All four students completed the first major exam with great success and have now moved on to the second part of the  7 month course which they will complete in July 2021.
March 2021, KHA Newsletter- Vol. 33     הרשמה לרשימת התפוצה בעברית
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Special Thank You
We would like to extend our gratitude to Mr Marcel Feig for his amazing partnership!
His generosity will help us support two very special Ethiopian Israeli medical students in the 2021 academic year.
What's new at Keren Aynor?

*a new streamlined on line application system
  • According to the 2015 Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics Report, in 2014 there were 2,774 Ethiopian- Israelis enrolled in higher education as compared to 331,650 among the general population.  This represented 9% of the Ethiopian Israeli 20-29 population as compared to 24.7% of the general population.
  • The median age for an Ethiopian student studying for a first degree is slightly higher, 26.5, than among the general population at 25.5.
  • In the past 25 years, Keren Hanan Aynor has helped to close this education gap by distributing more than 3,900 scholarships and supporting more than 1,850 students
  • In the past 5 years, over 95% of Keren Hanan Aynor students have successfully completed the academic year.
  • In the past 10 years, Keren Hanan Aynor has turned away an average of 51% of qualified applicants due to lack of funds.  
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 “If it were not for the scholarship which Keren Hanan Aynor provided me, I would not have been able to fulfill my dream of studying and completing a degree.  You convinced me that there are good people out there, and I promise you that I will always continue to study and to learn”
- Keren Wanda, Mother of 3, BA Social Work
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