Serving first in the Israel Defense Forces and then employed at various venues such as a pastry shop, factory, pre-school, supermarket or dental clinic, the Ethiopian young men and women who received Lapan scholarships to fulfill a dream of becoming nurses are also fulfilling an important need in Israeli society: eradicating the shortage of nurses.
The Lapan Nursing Scholarship program came to fruition as the result of a bequest by Patricia Lapan, a nurse, businesswoman, and philanthropist from Arizona and California. Nursing scholarships will be available to both nursing students at the beginning of their studies as well as to experienced nurses pursuing advanced degrees and specializations.
This particular Lapan Scholarship initiative involves 18 Ethiopians who comprise the first class of Achotenu, a joint program of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA), the Hadassah-Hebrew University Henrietta Szold School of Nursing, and JobKatif, an Israeli nongovernmental organization, dedicated to helping those in need to achieve stable employment.
Meet the students of Achotenu (as they appear in the photograph, beginning with those seated, left to right):
Rachel, age 22, served in an armory unit of the IDF and later worked in a pastry shop; Meital, 24, served as a combat soldier in the IDF and also worked in a pastry shop following her service; Shagu, 27, served in border control in the IDF; Rivka, 23, served as an instructor in the IDF and then worked as a supermarket cashier; Manloush, 22, was a dental assistant in the IDF's Medical Corps and worked in a dental clinic following his discharge.
Standing in the second row, left to right:
Tamar, 22, worked as a hospital assistant as part of her National Service and then in a factory; Aviv, 24, served as a combat medic in the IDF and then found employment as a warehouse worker; Solomon, 26, served first as a paramedic, then as an Army paramedic commander, and then as a youth counselor after the army; Inbal, 24, served as a captain in the IDF and then worked with special needs children; Malka, 25, served as a combat solider in Nahal and then in security at border crossings; Sarah, 22, served as a computer network manager in the Air Force and found employment afterwards at a furniture store. Yashmeba, 23, served as a dental assistant during her National Service and, after her discharge, worked as a supermarket cashier. Yehudit, 22, served as an educator in the IDF. Leah, 23, was a paramedic in the army and then worked in a clothing store. Esther, 26, was a National Service pre-school assistant and then waitressed. Maayan, 23, served in the Army police force and then worked as a waitress.
Shavit, 24, served in the Medical Corps as a laboratory technician. Orit, 22, also served in the Medical Corps as a laboratory technician and then worked in a plastics factory.
On the far right standing is Dr. Miri Rom, Dean of the Henrietta Szold School of Nursing. "You have chosen well and you were well-chosen," Dr. Rom told the students. “Nursing goes beyond professional concerns. It's a lifelong commitment to patients where nothing less than a hundred percent is needed every day."
“This is Zionism as it best,” comments Nancy Falchuk, Past National President and a founder of the National Center for Nurses Councils. “It is helping new immigrants, providing jobs, and strengthening health care in Jerusalem.”