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Carol Joseph Meets Project Participants, Hadassah Foundation

Carol M. Joseph, the new chair of the Hadassah Foundation, recently visited the Nekudat Chen Women's Center in Holon one of many sites in Israel that is piloting Saving for the Future. Developed by Hadassah Foundation grantee, Economic Empowerment for Women (EEW) in Haifa, the program promotes asset development among low-income women who manage micro-enterprises. It is based on a U.S. model known as the “Individual Development Account (IDA). The elements of the IDA include (a) targeted savings amounts (b) a “match” through charitable or government funds (c) savings held over time (d) restricted use of savings (e) financial literacy and (f) individual support.

Joseph, a lawyer who began her own firm has long experience in real estate and finance. She shared her experience with the women who are at different stages of being self-employed. Raya Rachamim 52, said that the support of the group was critical in her taking herself seriously and becoming a gemologist after her children had grown up. "Coming to group meetings is a small but symbolic step that gave me status within my family, made me overcome guilt about buying something new and stylish, and changed the nuances of relationships within the family." Rachaeli Hefer a single mother noted that the element of the program that encouraged women to put away money for a future capital purchase helped her establish her alternative medicine clinic. "I lived pretty much from month to month and didn't really understand the concept of saving," she said. Another woman had started a home catering business described how her learning to buy wisely and budget has trickled down to her children, whom she now encourages to apply their allowances to more significant purchases—a new bike, for instances. The Hadassah Foundation support social change programs for women and girls in Israel and the United States Jewish community. In Israel, these projects focus on economic empowerment as a key factor in change.

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