Mandel Program for Local Leadership in Rahat: Cohort 1 & 2
The program sought to encourage social initiatives in Rahat and throughout Bedouin society in the Negev and to foster the group as a learning community engaged in changing reality.
The program goals were:
- to develop participants’ leadership capabilities and their professional judgement;
- to strengthen their capacity to work for vision-based change;
- to facilitate the participants acting to improve their environment; and
- to create a locally-committed group that would work to promote change.
In terms of the group as a whole, the program sought to encourage social initiatives in Rahat and throughout Bedouin society in the Negev; to introduce alternative leadership models; and to foster the group as a learning community - and subsequently, after the program, as a community engaged in changing reality.
The program graduates are engaged in developing critical discourse within Bedouin society, which has found expression in a number of projects aimed at changing the reality: addressing inter-tribal Bedouin racism and Bedouin racism based on skin color; promoting critical discourse within Bedouin Arab society; addressing the concealment and marginalization of people with disabilities; and more. After the program, a number of the graduates progressed to studying for advanced degrees.
The first cohort of the program took place from 2011 to 2013 and had 14 graduates. The group was notable for its high levels of motivation and commitment to the program. Among the projects of the graduates of this cohort: promoting literacy in Rahat; developing critical consciousness; financial education; enrichment workshops for youth; preserving and documenting the oral history and memory of the tribal elders; reducing middle-school dropout; and fighting racism through education.
The second cohort was held from 2013 to 2015 and had 11 graduates. Among the projects of the graduates of this cohort: Arabic language studies in Jewish schools; employment for people with hearing and speech disabilities in Rahat; a Bedouin heritage conservation center; fighting sexual harassment in Arab society; a netball team for at-risk girls; and an intellectual salon for women in Rahat.