Mavar member – young man
When I was growing up in Stamford Hill, I was given no secular education at all. I spoke only the most basic English. I used to go to a friend’s home and talk with him about how I might improve my education. He mentioned Mavar to me, so I called the telephone number.
Mavar gave me a mentor to answer my questions and help me get on with my studies. When I spoke to my mentor, I felt that I had found someone who understands me and who supports me. Thanks to her help, I am now studying what I have wanted to study for a long time. I still have a long journey ahead.
I don’t like to write about my personal life which has been difficult. I always try to look to my future and not my past. When I was in contact with my mentor, I spoke to her about it and she helped me. If not for Mavar and my mentor I don’t know at what stage I would be now in my personal life.
Because my religious level has changed, I am not seen as a good person within the Stamford Hill community. Besides which, there is no one to whom to turn for advice on education in the community. Mavar do not look at my religious level.
I know that many other people feel as I felt. They have no one to turn to. Unfortunately I know many friends who have turned to drugs.
When I saw the Yiddish on the website it meant a lot for me, because I felt that Mavar was a “heimish” organisation and would understand people like myself from an ultra Orthodox community. At the same time, it was professional and confidential which also meant a lot.
I am not yet at the point where I feel confident to speak openly about Mavar to other people in the community who want to learn more about the outside world. However, I have told a few people about Mavar and they now know where they can find someone to speak to.
Mavar member – young woman
Since a young age, I have always tried to pursue my life path indifferent to my upbringing, having been brought up in an ultra–orthodox chassidic family, which entailed a vast amount of “rules”. Friend circles were closely monitored and studying was limited to particular orthodox institutions. Community pressure coerced everyone to remain the same, so I had limited opportunities to follow my dream of becoming a well-educated professional, networked with people from various cultural backgrounds.
I passed the orthodox education system and began working, but found myself increasingly challenged by my desire to change my lifestyle, which meant breaking all the “rules”. Being a female made it more difficult. I had no social connections, and no confidence to do this on my own.
I came across the fantastic “MAVAR”. What Mavar helped me achieve, from just the first time I contacted them, was a confidence, and a full understanding of how opportunities were far from limited. Mavar provided extremely clear guidelines where to begin my journey, as well as plenty of social contacts, thus widening my network. I am grateful to this wonderful organisation for instilling this confidence, and now feel ready to mould the life I had always wished for.
Mavar member – man
I was born into a closed charedi community and had very little connection to the outer world.
In my late 30’s I decided that I could no longer be true to myself whilst living in this community, so I took the drastic step of leaving everything I had ever known including my friends, family and employment.
Stepping out into the big outside world was challenging, socially and professionally. It is hard to explain how much there is to learn and acclimatise to, and I find it amazing to discover new things every day. Discoveries that teenagers make when they are 14 I am making at the age of 40. It is not always easy and in some ways I feel like a refugee from another country. On occasions my new friends compare me to an alien from Mars because I’m missing so much basic knowledge. It has been the amazing people around me that have sustained and supported me on this unbelievable journey.
Mavar and its team have been there to provide guidance and support, from helping me to cope with my family who were struggling to understand my new path in life to tips on making it out there professionally. Leavers like myself desperately need the support and connections that Mavar can provide. I hope they continue to expand their services and help more individuals access the real world.