Experience of my life

Volunteering at the Ethiopian National Project (ENP) was an experience that changed my life. It
made me grow as a person and understand that the world can be appreciated from different
points of view.

The Ethiopian children live a very complicated reality. They are born in Israel, but their parents
were born in Ethiopia. The two countries are worlds apart. Their parents have no economic
possibilities because they are immigrants. They don’t speak the language and they still don’t fully
understand the rules of the new country. They work all day and can’t be with their children many
hours.

Meanwhile teenagers struggle not only with the natural problems of their age but also with the
difference between the culture of their parents and the education they receive. It is crucial that
support centers exist in order that the kids have a place they can spend time, be with people who
can give them advice and forge an understanding between them and their family.

When I decided to travel, I had the idea of making a film workshop for the children who go to
the support centers in Beit Shemesh. The first day I arrived I was greeted by a group of 15
teenagers with curious glances. We organized the workshop with the help of coordinators and
volunteers. I thought I was going to teach a course of cinema, to be an educator and give the kids
a place of expression, but I ended up being the one who found a place of support, affection,
smiles and inspiration.

Since I returned to my country [Argentina], I’ve been doing film courses for underprivileged
children. ENP made me realize that this type of support is essential for boys and girls to grow up
healthy and to feel they can be a part of this complex world in which we live. At ENP, I didn’t
speak Hebrew and they didn’t speak English, but we still communicated, played together and
argued about football. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

Paloma Chiodo, Argentina