More than 70,000 Ethiopian children study in the Israeli school system in grades 1-12; most of these students do not attain the academic and social achievements necessary to purse an academic education.  The reasons for this are many but start with the fact that most Israelis are not familiar with Ethiopian history and culture, and therefore Ethiopian children and youth frequently clash with those holding authority in the school system, i.e. teachers and administrators, and with other children.  Clashes which over time effect the children’s self-esteem, identity, and their belief in their own abilities to succeed.  Ethiopian parents rarely have the means to provide their children with enrichment and informal education activities after school, and many children and youth left unsupervised drift into contact with undesirable elements and exhibit undesirable behaviors.  Furthermore, due to their difficulty in communicating and understanding Israeli culture, the parents at times, lose their parental authority and their ability to encourage their children to succeed.

Fidel, founded in 1996, by Ethiopian new immigrants and native Israelis, empowers Ethiopian children, youth and parents within and beyond the Israeli educational system.  Today, Fidel operates four educational projects throughout the country that reduce the gaps felt by Ethiopian children and youth within the school system and ensure that youth who are either on the verge of dropping out or have dropped out find their way to normative educational frameworks.  A fifth program develops leadership amongst Ethiopian youth while encouraging them to take responsibility for their own lives and give back to their communities.

At Fidel we believe that education enable each child to maximize their potential and to become contributing members of Israeli society; intensive, significant and culturally sensitive efforts are needed to allow these children to attain the achievements they need to integrate successfully into Israeli society.