Encouraging progress


IsraElite Young Women’s Leadership Program for Immigrant Youth (Mechina)


5th Cohort


IsraElite takes participants from the mindset of survival to one of growth and leadership by building up a sense of self-worth and personal identity, while providing them with valuable lessons in life skills and leadership tools. The experiences these young women have are taken with them upon graduation as they move from mandatory military service and into young adulthood, becoming contributing members to society.


Every year approximately 30 women attend IsraElite. Participants are 18-20-year-old high school graduates from mainly the Ethiopian community and have chosen to defer their military service for one year. These young women participate free of charge as all come from homes that are facing daily economic hardship. The participants receive monthly stipends as well to use for basic living expenses.

The entire program is structured to foster a process of personal development. The young women participate in Tikkun Olam projects such as helping with municipal events, local initiatives, volunteering with school children, the disabled and senior citizens. As the program is self-governing, participants are required to manage the day-to-day logistics of the Mechina.

To further develop themselves, the young women engage in courses and workshops, which are designed to expand their horizons; courses in time management, personal finances, development of healthy interpersonal relationships, leadership and gender, writing a personal narrative, being at ease with public speaking and debate. They engage in seminars that explore their identity within the context of their culture, Jewish heritage, and Israeli society. Upon graduation, allocated staff remain in close contact with the graduates as part of our “with you all the way” methodology.

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