Step Forward is an NGO founded in 2000 by young Bedouin educators and
professionals with the objective of promoting educational opportunities and
economic advancement programs for the Bedouin community of Southern Israel.
Based in Rahat, the largest Bedouin city in Israel (10 minutes drive from
Beer-Sheva), Step Forward addresses the dire situation of the Bedouin community
in Rahat, which is one of the poorest cities in Israel, with the highest rates
of unemployment and child-birth. The NGO focuses on youth and women in order to
facilitate social change through expending educational opportunities for
children and youth, and advancement of women’s economic independence and active
role in the community.
MAPMES offers a selected group of students an internship opportunity through
collaboration with Step Forward. Each week the students travel as a group to
Rahat, to teach and converse in English with Bedouin children, under the
guidance of the Step Forward team. This unique encounter allows students a
hands-on encounter with a Bedouin community undergoing a process of social
change, while benefitting from an opportunity to make a difference.
Following is an essay by Mary Ann Lewis, a MAPMES student, describing her
experience in Rahat during the academic year 2007-2008. (forthcoming in MAPMES