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First conference for the project “My First Library – From My Letter to Alola”

Our friends in Al-Baqour,

Last week, the first conference of us and our partners took place for the joint venture of the program “My first library – from my letter to Alola”, Eshkolot Negev Mizrachi and Merabi and the Yad Handiv Foundation.

The purpose of the conference was to reveal the association’s plans, present an evaluation and measurement plan for the flagship program: the network of libraries and a logical model for their future development.

Directors of education and welfare departments in the local authorities, representatives of the ministries of education, welfare and health, friends and partners from the third sector and representatives of foundations that support us were invited to the conference.

The Al-Bacqour association focuses on three core areas: the development of culturally appropriate models and programs for preschool children, the empowerment and accessibility of knowledge and information to parents, professionals and policy makers, and the training and professional development of female professionals.

The principles in the light of the work of the association are intended to encourage the growth of local forces that will bring about the change:

  • Reverse funnel – professional personnel who pass on knowledge
  • Investment in local personnel
  • Growth from pilots to large-scale programs.

Dr. Fouad Elsanea, chairman of the association, pediatrician, director of the Southern Negev Administration opened with a lecture on the relationship between investment in early childhood and social mobility with an emphasis on the importance of reading and language acquisition and the special challenges we face in the Arab community in the Negev.

Shlomit Somech Lehman, chairman of the association, explained to the guests the work of the association and the unique models it has developed since it was established in 2017.

  1. “My first library – from my letter to Alaula” – under the management of the librarian Amalia Kochan.

An innovative network of libraries in the drops of milk in the Bedouin settlements. A program that is carried out in full cooperation with the Milk Drops and aims to encourage reading and literacy in the Bedouin society.

The libraries are currently active in 12 centers (3 more will be opened soon), including a bilingual library in the preschool center in Yeruham that also serves the residents of Rahma village.

Alongside this program, there are various submission programs in the libraries, which were described in detail by Mysa Agbaria Al-Obra, the coordinator of the program, and Vidad Debari, an instructor at the Segev Shalom Library.

  • “Kitab Laind Elbab – Book until the house” – exchange of books in the subscription houses.
  • Al-Bacqour in digital – a digital library and access to animated stories and an educational program on WhatsApp for mothers who subscribe and upload them to other digital platforms: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and the association’s website.
  • Storytime – group workshops in backyards or at the library guide’s house.
  • Empowering women – which includes reading relevant stories. A workshop led by Nasreen Afavi.

In this program, the Magik Milageis of the Negev Institute are integrated, who write tips for mothers about reading the book. These tips are also sent as voice tips through the digital system and serve the illiterate mothers. The association intends to make accessible the stories sent to mothers with a hearing impairment through stories that will also be transmitted through sign language.

  1. The “Hatzrot” program under the management of Tamar Sade.

Storytime and playtime workshops held in host mothers’ tents. Instruction of mothers on the importance of reading and playing together, demonstration and joint activity between mothers and toddlers. In the book distribution program for mothers. The program was implemented in cooperation with Joint-Ashelim in the unknown villages of Abda, Nafha, and Bir HaDaj, as well as in the Kindergarten in Abda and in the Rahat Community Center (in cooperation with the Rahat Library).

The follow-up program “Mothers guiding mothers” – at the request of mothers who completed the Hatzer program, a training workshop was built for them by Hanan Abu Zalf – the pedagogical director of the association – who trained these women in Zoom to conduct workshops in their tents for mothers and children for hire.

From the words of mothers who mentored in the program Mothers Guide Mothers

  • “It was a lot of fun for the mothers and the children who found a beautiful and new game from the household products that the children could play with for a long time safely away from the roads… I was very happy that I gave them some new thoughts and some happiness”
  • “At first I was afraid of the number of children and that I would lose control…after I started communicating, I felt the matter was very sweet, most of the children were not in kindergartens and did not know glue, I thank you for participating in the project that I contributed to my community, even a little”
  1. “Please, take care – me, and my children” – workshops for interprofessional developmental guidance for mothers of preschool children under the guidance of a developmental counselor and a nurse/legal assistant, in combination with guest lectures by experts in the field of child development: a milk drop nurse, a nutritionist, a speech therapist and more.

This program was launched in 2020 in Segev Shalom and it actually grew the Hatzer program – the mothers and grandmothers who took part in the program offered to host meetings with neighbors and family members who could not come to the preschool center.

  1. Training personnel to run early childhood programs. Under the management of Nasreen Afavi.

Collaboration with Ryan Employment Center and Kay College for the training of teaching staff.

Hanan Abu Zalf, the course instructor, described her work in the “Storytelling for Preschoolers” course. 31 women participated in the course and 30 finished it. Hanan described the empowerment of women that occurs when they go on stage and the change in self-perception among the participants. Graduates of the course are employed in the association’s existing programs and those that are being created these days (story time in kindergartens, preparation for first grade, etc.).

Another course will soon be opened: “Parent-child activation in a joint activity in movement and music”.

Dr. Orly Krov closed the conference with the presentation of the evaluation and measurement plan and the logical model for a network of libraries.

Our long-term goals:

  • Local leadership for mothers with children
  • Professional and personal development of the instructors
  • The tortures of a drop of milk will include preschool literacy
  • The library will be an anchor for various activities in the field of preschool literacy

On this occasion, we thank our partners and supporters: Eastern and Western Negev Clusters, the Yad Handiv Foundation, the Ministries of Health, Welfare, Education and the Ministry of Social Equality.

Local and regional authorities in the Bedouin society, the Ryan Center for Employment, the Society for Community Settlements, local businessmen, the Bedouin Implementation Headquarters, the Nibras Center for Literacy – the Academic College of Education A.S. Kay, foundations, volunteers and more.

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