Chasdei Lev was established nine years ago in Tzfat, Israel, in loving memory of Rabbi Levi Bistritzky, of blessed memory. The organization works towards strengthening the economic condition of residents of Tzfat and the Galili. We believe that every individual has the inherent skills, and ability, to enable an economically healthy way of life and that we need to provide support to make this a reality.
The Need: There are 7,000 families living in Tzfat today, 3,000 of them are known to the various social services and there are potentially hundreds of others who have not, for a myriad of reasons, approached for assistance. Close to 80% of the City residents live below the poverty line and in today’s economic reality there are additional families at risk in which both partners work at minimum wage and they struggle to manage their family budgets.
The Solution: Through our years of field work we have gained valuable experience in regards to the needs of the City’s residents. Today, the Organization runs three central programs to promote our goals and provide solutions to the existing needs – each program serves a different sector of the community
1. Pathways to Success – the program works towards the rehabilitation of families in the cycle of poverty and with families facing financial hardship. Families that are a good match for the program enter into a yearlong process towards the betterment of their situation. During this year the families receive 50 hours of counseling and personal mentoring in four areas that will allow them to make life changes. We believe that to create a sustainable change it is not sufficient to just offer counseling and coaching but rather we need to change thought processes and to provide tools to manage family finances in the present and in the future.
Counseling is given in the following areas: family financing, employment, personal and family coaching and healthy lifestyles. Each family is individually evaluated in terms of their needs and a tailor made program is designed for them including goals and objectives that will help the family reach stability. Yearly, the program works with 100 families at a cost of 1,000,000 NIS.
2. the College for Economic Growth
The College was established with the goal of assisting salaried and independent salary earners whose income does not provide them a decent livelihood and in some cases threatens them with financial ruin. The idea of establishing the College was to provide every resident the opportunity to attend courses in a professional environment with professional instructors and by this to avoid feelings of embarrassment and/or shame associated with approaching a charitable organization.The College provides workshops in: home budget management, small business management, the development of small home-based businesses, counseling on mortgages, insurance and finances. Additionally, the College publishes a “Living Right” magazine. Yearly 700 families take part in the courses and in various counseling sessions offered by the College.
3. Shekel - An Financial Educational Program
Most of the City’s children, growing up in poverty, are at risk of becoming the next generation living in poverty themselves. We believe that educating to build values, comprehension and healthy thought processes will contribute to the raising a new generation that understands the meaning and value of good personal finances. Additionally, through the work with these children, we are able to increase the awareness of their parents and make an additional change and in some cases offer the entire family counseling.
The Shekel program is intended for children in grade three and in this framework children learn about the denomination of paper money, cash, salaries, income vs. spending, banking terminology and at the completion of the course the children are treated to a tour of a local Bank and receive diplomas. Yearly, 500 children study in Shekel and 50% of their parents request a financial consultation in continuation to their child’s participation in the program.
Target Audience :
The Organization provides services to over 5,000 residents yearly and we believe that there is a ripple effect and more and more families will avail themselves to the services that will assist them in breaking the cycle of poverty – this will also go a long way in preventing additional families from suffering economic strife.