Like any Israeli teenager, young asylum seekers graduate high school after 12 years with a diploma. But most, even the skilled and accomplished, will find themselves working in menial labor in restaurants and service, either dishwashing or cleaning, at minimum wage. Many of these teenagers came to Israel without their families. With no support network, they must fend for themselves. Those with families often work to support them as well and cannot realize their own goals.
The cost of living in Israel is high. Rent alone can reach 3,000 NIS a month for a small room. Working at minimum wage, they work hard just to survive, just for the basic needs.
Tzimaon’s ATID preparatory program offers them a chance for a better future.
ATID is a program for professional cookery studies. Participants in the program study for 14 months under some of Israel’s top chefs, and receive an international certificate from Kitchen Studios, the international organization run by world-renowned Chef Jamie Oliver.
The first year of this unique program began on December 1, 2019. The program is intended for men and women ages 18 to 30, and is divided into two parts. The first part of the program lasts four months, and includes full study days of cooking classes, enrichment and empowerment, and an internship placement in some of the country’s top kitchens that have partnered with our program. In the second part of the program, trainees undertake to work for the same employer for a period of 10 months, requiring a mutual commitment from both.
The training throughout the program is accompanied by a social worker, and each participant is assigned an ‘accompanying parent’. The head of the preparatory program will accompany the trainees throughout their internship, and serve as the liaison between the trainees and the chefs in the different hiring locations. All professional aspects of the program are overseen by Chef Itai Farkash and his team.
We believe this program will provide participants with the skills that can serve them secure a satisfying profession and dignified living for a much better future. Recruiting participants has been challenging, as most earn minimum wage at best, and save their pennies for survival. Six of our participants have decided to brave the difficulties and commit to the program, despite the tremendous challenges. Now, our mission is to keep them from crashing and help them persevere with the program until they gain their diploma. Tzimaon supports each participant with a subsistence scholarship. We deeply believe in this program. We at Tzimaon believe that with the right support, their future will be much brighter!