Australia’s good work in the Negev

August 10, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Triguboff Switch Centre in the Negev launched its first summer camp for 50 youngsters from the Bedouin villages of Rahat, Lakia, Hora, and Kuseife, whose parents are employed in the Idan Hanegev Industrial Zone.

Celebration time

The joint initiative of the Rahat Community Centre and the Triguboff Institute was received enthusiastically by the Idan Hanegev Industrial Zone administration, and its factories and employees, and was actively supported by the southern district of the Israel Association of Community Centres.

The summer camp is being held together with two workshops for Bedouin women who have never previously been employed outside their homes, and who have now joined the workforce at Sodastream’s factory. The workshops are operated by the Triguboff Switch Center in conjunction with Sodastream, based on a program developed by the Centre. In the workshops, the women, many of whom are mothers to large families, acquire tools to cope with the far-reaching implications of working outside the family home for the first time in their lives. The Switch Center also operates various other activities, including a project to promote the mathematical skills of thousands of Bedouin elementary school children.

This project is supported by Simon & Leon Kamenev of Sydney and is operated jointly with the Israel – Australia Matific Developer’s company.

The board members of the Triguboff Institute and the Switch Centre, together with the Israel Association of Community Centers and the Rahat Community Centre are actively involved in developing a framework for a new collaborative project to promote integration and to raise the employment profile of the Bedouins of the Negev in the coming years. This partnership will establish the Triguboff Switch Centre as a regional hub, with funds from government authorities supplementing resources from philanthropic contributions, and will function as a sustainable centre for promoting and implementing projects to benefit the entire Negev Bedouin sector.

The Idan Hanegev Industrial Zone is the spearhead of multiple efforts to change the employment profile of Bedouin society, a society that has undergone enormous changes in recent years. The Bedouin population accounts for one-third of the population of the Negev, and Rahat is the second-largest city in the Negev, after Beer-Sheva. Howard Myers, board member of the Triguboff Institute and Chair of the Switch Centre, spoke of the extensive activities that took place during the Covid-19 pandemic: “The very welcome initiatives of Rahat’s Community Center, the support of the Association of Community Centers and the administration of the Idan Hanegev Industrial Zone created an outstanding model of collaboration, free of sectoral interests. It’s heart-warming to see the images of the employees’ young children and their activities in the summer camp at the Triguboff Centre.”

At a discussion with the senior staff of the Association of Community Centers, Shalom Norman, Director  of the Triguboff Institute, stated: “This is an opportune moment for establishing constructive partnerships to realise the initiative supported by Harry Triguboff, a long-lasting supporter of the Negev in Australia’s Jewish community leadership, Elaine & Peter Smaller of JNF Australia, members of the local NGO’s and the local authorities here in the Negev, and to ensure that the aim of promoting the social and economic future of all residents of the Negev, both Jews and Bedouins —becomes a reality.”

The skilled staff of the Rahat Community Centre, led by Mrs Nibal Dabes and its general director Mr Fuad al-Ziadna, are in charge of operating the initiative.

A dedication ceremony of the Harry Oscar Triguboff Foyer and Auditorium in the Idan Hanegev House will be held in October 2021.

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