The vision of Mahapach-Taghir is a just Israeli society with equal socio-economic and educational opportunities for all, and a strong democratic civil society. The principles that facilitate our goals and methodologies are:
Critical Pedagogy and Community Activism
Critical pedagogy is an educational approach that encourages the student to challenge dominating concepts. In other words, critical pedagogy helps build a critical outlook. It empowers marginalized communities by focusing on skills relevant to the community and by highlighting the connection between access to knowledge and tools, and the ability for marginalized communities to take responsibility over their own futures.
Educator Paulo Freire was an important theorist of critical pedagogy and his work greatly influenced the founders of Mahapach-Taghir. Expanding on his teachings, Jane Thompson wrote:
“There is no such thing as a neutral education process. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the ‘practice of freedom,’ the means by which men and women deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”.
Critical pedagogy is a continuing process of learning, re-learning, reflection and evaluation of impact on the students and their actions. This impact is felt most strongly for children and youth who are involved long-term in Mahapach-Taghir communities and who have been historically excluded from formal education.
In accordance with these principles, every community of Mahapach-Taghir is a neighborhood civic center as well as a learning center that integrates the platform of critical pedagogy. Using this model, the aim is to involve as many residents as possible and to coordinate between the skills and abilities of the residents and the needs of the community. The combination of the civic center and learning center is essential to developing the neighborhood from a collection of streets into a community that is an organic, unified entity, that runs successful neighborhood activities, develops local leadership of youth and adults, and empowers children, residents and students.
At its core, Mahapach-Taghir is a feminist organization based on feminist principles. These are principles of partnership, equality, transparency, empathy and shared decision making. These principles are manifested in all levels of Mahapahch-Taghir- in our communities, staff and strategic thinking.
Mahapach-Taghir focuses on the empowerment of women and their families. We believe that social change is brought about by mothers and their struggles to meet the needs of their families. Despite the fact that women are not always aware of their personal and public skills and abilities, they are often central figures in local activism. Mahapach-Taghir’s emphasis on women’s empowerment- including women’s rights, education and leadership- grew naturally from our focus on local leadership and became one of our most important goals.
Women activists involved in Mahapach-Taghir learn about human rights and types of feminism. In addition, they learn practical skills for petitioning the local authority on behalf of their community. Women gain experience in community campaigns and in coordinating and executing community projects. They are provided with tools needed to develop local initiatives based on specific community needs and to turn them into national projects.
Our commitment to equality is embodied in our organization structure, methodologies and culture that adapts constantly to the unique challenges and needs of the women of our communities, staff and society as a whole.
At Mahapach-Taghir, we strive to promote an alternative discourse that recognizes and accepts the narrative of the other, fosters a positive perspective on identity, and encourages inter-community solidarity and partnership based on shared values of human rights.
One of our first steps in creating Jewish-Palestinian partnership is the shared leadership of Mahapach-Taghir by a Jewish and Palestinian co-director. This feminist and equitable model sends an important message to the communities of Mahapach-Taghir- Jewish-Palestinian partnership is not only possible, it strengthens our organization. We create a platform where Jewish-Palestinian partnership can be built for the sake of our women’s groups and students by exposing repressed narratives and by encouraging cooperation and teamwork. Through workshops and lectures in Palestinian communities, we reinforce forgotten narratives heritage. We encourage dialogue and cooperation between Jewish and Palestinian communities based on common interests, joint action plans and shared objectives.
There are many common issues shared by residents of the Mahapach-Taghir communities. We use this as the basis for partnership between Jewish and Palestinian and to encourage dialogue between communities which usually identify one another as competitors for the same resources. Women’s leadership in our communities, not only promotes a feminist agenda but also Jewish-Palestinian partnership based on a civic agenda of human rights.