Yemin Orde graduate Nofar Getanech Desta is certain that “living and learning at Yemin Orde was the best thing that happened in my life”.
Nofar’s traumatic and dangerous journey from a small village in Ethiopia to the modern urban environment of Israel started with, literally, one small step. She was only four years old when her parents woke her in the middle of the night and announced that the family was walking to Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, where they would wait for governmental permission to move to Israel – the Holy Land of their dreams.
“I remember we left our home and everything behind and walked for three months until my mother, who was pregnant with twins, fell ill and could not continue. My parents decided to send me and my siblings on to Gondar, the next closest city, by ourselves, and wait for them,” Nofar said. “My oldest brother, who was 10 years old at the time, was put in charge of the five of us. We all had to take care of each other. It was very scary.”
Nofar’s parents joined them in Gondar four months later, along with the newborn twins. Six months later, tragedy struck when one of the twins died from illness. In Gondar, Nofar’s family continued to wait for permission to make Aliyah. Four years later, their prayers were answered and the family was flown to Israel to begin new lives as Israeli citizens. The family then settled in Haifa.
Nofar found the complexities of her new and modern homeland of Israel where everything – language, school, friends, and her parents – seemed so difficult and out of her control.
“My parents didn’t have jobs and everything was so hard in the beginning. We had to learn a new language and adjust to a new culture and a new way of thinking. I started working at a very young age to support my family,” Nofar said.
A new home in Israel for Nofar
At age 14, Nofar arrived at Yemin Orde Youth Village which provided her with a loving home and a chance to strengthen her confidence and academic skills. “I knew from the start that I had made the right decision to come to Yemin Orde. It wasn’t just another boarding school for me – it was home,” she said.
At Yemin Orde, Nofar was able to refocus her energy from daily struggle to achieving success as a role model among her peers and an excellent student. She was active in many extra-curricular activities and programs at the Village that allowed her leadership qualities to shine. Additionally, she represented the Village as a counselor at a summer camp for special needs children in the United States.
Thanks to Yemin Orde Youth Village’s caring and supportive community, Nofar learned to embrace hope and lean into her dreams of a bright and productive future in Israel.
In 2014, after serving three years as a combat soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, Nofar received an academic scholarship for college through Yemin Orde’s Graduate Program. She attended college at Ono Academic College in Tel Aviv and studied law. Today, she serves as an attorney in the Haifa District Attorney’s office and works to safeguard justice and safety in Israel.
Nofar lives in Netanya with her husband, Yosi. Her parents and four sisters and four brothers all live in Israel.