Eritrean women in Israel are often without their parents, grandparents and siblings- the family network that greatly assists women as they became mothers. We offer confidential conversations for what are considered embarrassing questions about topics ranging from breastfeeding to how to appropriately discipline children.
Upon arrival to Israel, many Eritrean women were so focused on surviving in their new environment that they were uninterested in discussing their past experiences in Eritrea or along the journey to Israel. Now that many women have more stability in their lives in the sense that they have a place to live, clothes on their backs, and some form of employment, there is a new desire to share past experiences and discuss psychological effects of previous trauma.
Many Eritrean women believe that sexual health is a taboo subject. Previous sexual assault and other experienced violence often compound preexisting feels of isolation. Subsequently, many women are unwilling to publicly seek information about sexual health especially about family planning options and sexually transmitted diseases. Individualized and confidential support enables women to get answers on such sensitive topics without having to worry about adverse reactions from their spouses or their community.
Fear about the Future
Israel’s policy towards Eritreans in Israel has been rapidly changing over the past few years. Thousands of asylum seekers have been sent to the Holot detention center. While women have yet to be detained in this facility, siblings and friends of Eritrean women are continuously summoned to Holot. The Israeli government is putting immense pressure on the Eritrean community to consent to their own deportation. This significantly effects Eritrean women, as their community support networks are disrupted. Suddenly, cousins and friends who women rely upon for housing, friendship, and support are no longer there. Our individualized support program addresses such fears and uncertainty by providing accurate information, dispelling rumors about Israeli policy and by lending a listening ear.
Access to Services
The Israeli government does not offer orientation or integration services for asylum seekers. To meet this gap, many Israeli organizations offer a variety of services that attempt to meet some of this need. Our individual support program allows for the dissemination of such information to Eritrean women. Most of the work in this regard will include referrals to partner organizations.