News from Vehadarta during covid19 crisis
As you are aware “Vehadarta – The Grey Power” works with the population that is at the epicenter of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior citizens, whose exclusion from the employment market, in particular, and from various social frameworks in Israel, in general, led us to launch our activity, are the main high-risk group.
Those senior citizens who in normal times face loneliness and exclusion, are currently experiencing that to an even greater degree. For us, who are dedicated to reintegrating senior citizens who have been removed from the employment market due to ageism, this is a difficult and complicated challenge.
We are continuing in full force to act for the benefit of our target population. We have, to such end, taken a number of steps:
· Together with the “Dig It” company, we have launched a service of digital training for senior citizens https://www.letsdig.it/. The training is given by Vehadarta volunteers and employees, together with Dig It employees. The sessions are held free of charge, via telephone, regarding any matter that the elderly person wishes to learn about (from how to use Zoom or how to order online from the supermarket, through how to order or download medical prescriptions from the Health Clinic).
This service is critical and is the need of the hour for the population that we serve in these times when we are shut in our homes, and most of our communication with the outside world is done digitally.
· The “Gilda” program (a play on words combining the Hebrew words “gil” (age) and “da” (knowledge) and the word “gilda” (guild)). In the framework of this program, senior citizens who until recently served in senior positions – now serve as consultants to businesses in their fields of expertise. This program has accelerated during the crisis. We have launched a campaign called “Gilda at Times of Crisis”, in the framework of which the program’s participants provide the consulting services on a volunteer basis to businesses that are suffering due to the crisis. Until now, more than 40 requests for consulting services have been submitted!
· Continued remote working. More than 30 thousand members of the “Experience Required” community, both employers and jobseekers, still need us and we are working with them in a number of ways. We are approaching jobseekers, conducting certain reflections on the process in our organization, assisting them in additional upgrading of their CV’s and skills, and conducting remote simulations. This period of time that has been forced upon us is an excellent opportunity to prepare for the “day after”. Having said that, personal contact is particularly important for jobseekers, for whom it helps maintain optimism while dealing with the complex situation. The process is conducted remotely, concurrently with steps that are taken vis-à-vis employers, in encouraging and promoting remote working, and the opening of flexible positions for work from home.
· “Israeli Mosaic”. We are currently in the initial stages of establishing a project together with researchers from the Interdisciplinary Center and Haifa University, therapists and experts in the field of old age. The purpose of the program is to strengthen the senior citizen population during this crisis, through an initiative that will be led by them, to create the Israeli story. We will learn from them about coping skills and will be giving them a role in shaping life in the State of Israel during the crisis and its aftermath. The essence of the program is based on approaching a large group of senior citizens who are in quarantine and asking them to share their life story and its implications for the desired future of the State of Israel. The program will be led by senior citizen volunteers who will be trained to guide and accompany their peers in writing their personal story. We intend to shed light on the experience of the past while emphasizing the ability to overcome crises and continue to grow both on an individual and national level. It is important for us to deliver the message that now, but also in the days following the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel needs its senior citizens. Their contribution and experience have signal importance in building the future of the State of Israel – they are the link connecting between past, present and future. The program is based on bibliotherapy as a therapeutic model. The outcome of the project will be an Israeli mosaic of life stories.
I wish to thank you again for your partnership and support.
With best wishes from the bottom of my heart for good health and better and happy days to come.