The Lionesses of Akko, a support and leadership-training group for young mothers and local women, and the Akko Educators’ Kibbutz latest project, entered its second month in July. Every week on Monday afternoons, a group of 15 women from the Korczak neighborhood meet in the Kibbutz building’s community center to spend the afternoon together. There, guided by kibbutz members Shelly and Inbal, the Lionesses of Akko meet to discuss a range of topics relevant to their lives while developing the social framework for the organic growth of local leadership.
All members of the group are recent arrivals from the former USSR, mainly the Ukraine and Russia. The Lionesses of Akko provides group members with a warm, safe and comfortable environment to deal collectively with the many challenges associated with immigration and raising children in a new country, often without the support of the children’s grandparents.
To that end, every afternoon during group activities, the women are able to leave their children next door under the care of local student volunteers in a room fully equipped with games and facilities to keep the children having fun, learning and safe under full supervision while their mothers participate in the Lionesses of Akko activities. Programming includes language-skills workshops, team-building exercises, and project development.
All activities are designed to give group members the tools and experiences necessary to maximize their participation in civic life and to strengthen the fabric of the local community.
“We split into small groups to plan projects that we want to take back into the community. My group came up with the idea of putting together kabbalat shabbat get-togethers on Friday nights and inviting our friends and neighbors. We want to bring the community together in a way that also strengthens Jewish culture and connects us to the rest of society. Another group is working on a project to invite families for weekend trips to explore parts of Israel that they wouldn’t otherwise see. Nature, historical sites, etc. Shelly and Inbal from the Kibbutz have guided us every step of the way.” Hava, 36.