The ITC has had a long and rich history of providing opportunities and support to immigrant children from all over the world, including the former Soviet Union, South Lebanon, Nigeria, Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as to the children of foreign workers from Africa, Asia, and more.
As part of its community outreach, the ITC operates programs designed to empower immigrant children through both sport and educational workshops in an effort to ease their transition into Israeli society and enable them to transcend social and cultural barriers.
The largest group of the immigrant population currently served by the ITC is comprised of Ethiopian Jews, whose desire to build a life in their religious homeland of Israel culminated in their acceptance as Israeli citizens by a decree by Israel’s Ministry of Absorption]in 1973. These events led to the first wave of immigration in the 1970’s, which greatly intensified from the 1980’s through the end of 2013. The two largest waves of immigration were Operation Moses in 1984 and Operation Solomon in 1990, which brought 8,000 and 14,000 Jewish Ethiopians, respectively, to Israel. Overall, approximately 80,000 Ethiopian Jews have immigrated to Israel throughout the years, with over 110,000 Ethiopian Jews currently living in Israel. Of this population, over 35,000 are children.
Unfortunately, while thousands of Jewish Ethiopian families were successfully brought to Israel, their absorption has not been as successful, and too many live below the poverty line.
Given the many cultural and ethnic differences that Ethiopians brought with them, it has proven to be more challenging to adjust to the mix of Western and Middle Eastern life in Israel and integrate fully into Israeli society. Decades after the Ethiopian Aliyah began in the 70’s, many Ethiopians still face pervasive discrimination and economic hardship, living in highly segregated communities in Israel’s periphery and suffering from high unemployment rates which, in turn, may lead/have led to other issues, such as:
- violence, including domestic violence
- higher divorce rates/higher single parent households
- juvenile delinquency and a higher rate of school dropout
The ITC’s programs offer its population of immigrant children an opportunity to fulfill their potential by acquiring skills that will help them become leaders within their communities and adapt to the challenges of Israeli society.
The ITC offers scholarships to children of Ethiopian descent who wish to join the achievement and/or competitive tennis programs, yet are unable to afford the costs.
Excellence Program for Ethiopian Children
This program is geared towards helping children gain confidence and transcend social barriers, giving them a sense of belonging and identity. Structured as a competitive tennis and fitness program, the program advocates excellence in all fields on the tennis courts (through participation in tournaments) and in school.
Empowerment Program for Ethiopian Children
The Ethiopian Empowerment Program is geared towards helping children gain confidence, as well as a sense of belonging and identity. Structured as a tennis and fitness program with a strong focus on social enrichment, participants complete their homework at the tennis center, within the confines of a warm and nurturing environment.