“I immigrated to Israel in 1991 from the former Soviet Union where I worked as a piano teacher,” says Rita. “When I came to Israel I really wanted to continue working in this profession, but wherever I went I was overlooked. I live in the capital of the Negev, Beersheba, and am very proud to be in the city I love. But finding a job was just too difficult for a woman in her 60s. In one place someone asked me, ‘Oh, did you bring your daughter’s resume?’ At that moment, I realized that the chances of integrating into my profession were very small.”
With no other options, Rita started working in an electronics factory. “For 13 years, I worked in extremely difficult conditions 12 hours a day,” she recalls. “At my age, I had to lift 15-kilo wheels, until I couldn’t do it anymore. My body could not handle it and neither could my soul. I was broken.
“I wanted to look for something new, but it is very scary to look for a job on your own. At first, I didn’t know where to turn and how to even begin looking. Then one day an ad in the newspaper about the 60+ Program caught my eye.”
The 60+ Employment Centers Program helps senior citizens in their 60s who want to stay in the workforce or return to it and find high-quality jobs with good pay. It operates eight employment centers across the country, also assisting employers in the recruitment process.
“I arrived at the 60+ Employment Center in Beersheba and met with Sagit, one of the agents,” Rita says. “From the first meeting, my life began to change. We started by writing a resume, looking for a job that would suit me, and preparing for interviews, including how to present myself and my qualifications. She made me believe in myself. I’ve never met people with so much patience and care. They truly believe that older people have something to offer as employees.”
Today, Rita works at the Health Ministry doing administrative work. “I feel at home here,” she concludes. “I am the first one to arrive every morning at 7:30 and don’t want to leave. I made the necessary changes and am doing what I love.”