Maya’s memories of her family’s trek from Ethiopia to Israel are vague. After all she was but a little girl at the time. Her memories as a seven-year old, however, are more vivid. That’s when she became her parents’ interlocutor with Israeli government officials, service providers and medical personnel soon after making aliyah.
Since making aliyah, Maya’s father, previously an officer in the Ethiopian army, has worked in demeaning jobs. Today, he is an active volunteer member of his community, leading thrice daily prayer services, study groups and lending an attentive ear to neighbors. But, he has not held down more than a blue collar job since their aliyah in 1998. Maya’s mother works a few hours a day as a cleaner and also takes care of Maya’s three younger siblings.
Her family situation has been a heavy, humiliating burden on her heart.
Maya was intent on changing the course of her own life. She saw her future in biology, a subject she excelled in during her high school years, and further mastered when she became a medic during her army service.
Maya’s dream: to become a nurse. However, Maya’s psychometric exam marks were not high enough, and she was rejected from Israel’s practical nursing programs.
Today, Maya is graduating with honors from Achotenu’s first pilot program. She commences work as a practical nurse in one of Israel’s major hospitals.
“When the kids from my neighborhood see me, they see a role model.”