A New Dawn in the Negev has two co-directors, Jamal Alkirnawi and Shlomit Somech Lehmann, responsible for oversight and operations of the organization as a whole. Our board is composed of six members, both Bedouin and Jewish. Employees include: A Secretary; Director of International Programs; 3 Youth Program employees; 2 music teachers; Sarab Program Coordinator; Director of Educational/Social Tourism; a translator; and over 45 volunteers each year, both international and local, they are an indispensable component of our organization. Our modalities of action include concrete projects and activities, please see main projects/activities for more information.
Major funding sources in 2016 included: The Arison Foundation; The Porticus Foundation; The New Israel Fund.
Main partners in activities include: Al-Salam School; Be'er Sheva Music Conservatory; Al-Najak School; UK Trusthouse; Merchavim; KIbbutz Kramim.
Founded in 2009, A New Dawn in the Negev is an Arab-Jewish community development organization based in Rahat, Israel. As a community-based organization, we are inherently attuned to the myriad challenges facing the Bedouin society, which include extreme poverty - the Negev Bedouin represent the lowest socioeconomic group in Israel - and social and cultural isolation, especially amongst the youth. We believe that facing these challenges at a grassroots level through education, employment, and leadership training represent the key elements for helping Bedouin youth and young adults rise out of poverty to become active, engaged citizens.
Our objectives are to:
- Create an equal standard with regards to both formal and informal education
- Break the social isolation of Bedouin youth, who exist on the periphery of a periphery
- Provide Bedouin youth with tools and life skills to facilitate integration into Israeli society
- Develop a healthy sense of personal identity
- Preserve and nurture Bedouin culture as source of pride and heritage
- Imbue the both the Jewish and Bedouin communities with the values of peace, mutual respect and responsibility
A New Dawn in the Negev's programs include:
• After School English Program: Volunteers from around the world join the Bedouin High School students of Alnajak High School once a week in the new English center to bring fun and educational enrichment programs to the at risk population. This program is of huge benefit to the participants: it is not only a means to achieving better test results in English, but also serves as a holistic approach to cultural exchange and reflection.
• Bedouin Digital Culture Center: A digital initiative funded by the UK Trusthouse Foundation. The goal of this project is to explore the transition of Bedouin society from a traditional semi-nomadic way of life into the 21st century. This project is also designed to be a practical project through which students can learn documentary skills and video editing with the hope of integrating this program as a component to the After-School English Enrichment Program.
• Sarab: Strings of Change: Sarab (“Oasis” in Arabic) strives to change the bleak social reality of the Bedouins of the Negev by providing quality music education, starting with children in elementary schools. Omer Meir Welber, a regular guest conductor at the Israeli Opera, the Semperoper Dresden, and at La Fenice Venice, and who serves as the Music Director of the Raanana Symphony Orchestra, is the heart of the program and provides it with its vision.
• Shared Society Project: In partnership with Merchavim, in 2015 A New Dawn and Kibbutz Kramim launched a joint forum to promote coexistence. This forum comprises of municipality officials and community leaders from the Kibbutz and Rahat. The forum members are committed and passionate about developing a better future for both Jews and Bedouins in the Negev region. The forum’s goal in 2016 is to launch joint projects and programs. The forum currently has 40 participants, with an equal number of Jewish and Bedouin members.
• German Youth Exchange Program: Aims to understand discrimination in the context of the past and the present, and empowers students to serve as advocates against discrimination. Students from Germany come to Rahat, and students from Rahat travel to Germany: living together, traveling together, and getting to know one another on a deeper level while exploring the other's culture and historical context.
• Youth at Risk Employment Training Program: One of our most successful programs to date, this project directs youth 15-18 years of age towards empowering opportunities for growth, through long-term employment training. Training is provided in computer literacy, business computing, smartphone repair, as well as in entry level training for medical careers. Essential soft skills are also emphasized, such as professional level Hebrew, presentation skills, and public speaking to improve their confidence and sense of professionalism. 50-70% of program graduates are enrolled in further education, and are on a path to successfully integrating into Israeli society. Over 200 youths have participated in this program over the past three years.
As a Bedouin-Jewish co-existence group whose focus is on leadership training, education, and empowerment of youth and communities, we see an enormous potential for collaboration and are interested in further exploring the already-existant network of organizations who share common values.
A New Dawn in the Negev is interested in facilitating the development and implementation of Common Actions among member organisations or across Networks. As a Bedouin-Jewish co-existence group whose focus is on leadership training, education, and empowerment of youth and communities, we see an enormous potential for collaboration and are interested in further exploring the already-existant network of organizations who share common values.