Our Team

Dr. Diddy Mymin Kahn, Kuchinate Co-Founder & Director

South Africa

 

Dr. Diddy Mymin Kahn is originally from South Africa. She is a clinical psychologist and trauma specialist in humanitarian aid and intervention. She has over 22 years of experience working in the UK, Hong Kong, Israel, Sierra Leone and Haiti as a psychologist, supervisor, trainer and group facilitator.

 

“Kuchinate is part of my heart and soul. I co-founded Kuchinate in 2011. As a psychologist, I have had many years of experience working with people living outside of Israel who have suffered through severe trauma. I myself have wandered from place to place and have felt, to an extent, the agonizing loneliness of being a foreigner in a strange land. Thankfully, I did not need to flee death and persecution. When I started working with East African asylum seekers who had suffered through horrific experiences in the Sinai, I realized that a traditional Western approach to treating trauma would not suffice and a different approach to rehabilitation was needed. I made sure that Kuchinate was born from the desire to provide psychological, economic and social empowerment to women who were in a desperate state of survival. I am proud of 250 who face immense challenges each day, yet find the strength to teach and positively impact each other and the public, design unique crochet products, host events and attend sales in homes, markets and fairs. Our brave women have been able to evolve themselves, as well as empower others to grow.”

Sister Azezet Habtezghi Kidane (known as Sister Aziza), Kuchinate Co-Director

 Eritrea

 

Sister Aziza is originally from Eritrea, but is now a British citizen and a member of the Comboni Missionary Sisters. Since 2010, she has acted as an advocate, counselor, nurse and spiritual leader for the African refugee community in Israel. She has specifically focused her attention on the enslavement for sexual exploitation in the Sinai and the torture of asylum seekers. In recognition of her efforts to combat human trafficking, she was honored by the US Department of State in 2012 as a “hero of our time acting to end modern slavery.”

Lina Otom Jak Agolon, Shop & studio manager

South Sudan

 

Lina is married with four children (ages 14, 12, 10 and 8). She has great artistic talent. At Kuchinate, she knits carpets and baskets and is responsible for developing new products and arranging and designing the store.

 

"I have lived in Israel for over 10 years. I live on Mount Zion Boulevard in a two-room apartment. My four children sleep in one room, I live in the living room, and my husband is on the balcony. I arrived at Kuchinate in 2013 and could not work because in 2011 after southern Sudan declared independence, Israel decided that the Sudanese should return to Sudan by force. My little girl had to have a dental operation and because I had an appointment for surgery, I received a special note from the Interior Ministry. I never left my apartment without carrying the note in my hand and because of this note, I was always able to slip by. I never had to go back to Sudan. My husband and children hid in the apartment and my husband only went out to work at nighttime. My friends who were forced back to Sudan are now in refugee camps in Uganda and Egypt with their children."

Sister Agnese Elli, Finance Manager

Agnes was born in northern Italy, in a village of 600 people called Carugo. In 1981 she joined the Order of the Camboni sisters in Rome, where she studied education and pedagogy and was sent to study English in England. In 1990 she was sent to Kartoum in South Sudan to serve as deputy director of the school. There, during the civil war, she supervised about 1200 children, Christian and Muslim, from first grade to twelfth grade. After 10 years in Sudan and 2 years in Egypt studying Arabic she was sent back to  Rome to work in administration and then was sent in 2011 to the Middle East, first to work in a school in Dubai and then in 2014 to Israel to work with Sister Aziza with the Bedouins and Kuchinate.

Ruth Garon, Head of Marketing,  production & Events

Born and raised in Kibbutz Revadim, she went on to study opera at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and in the School of Visual Theater.

 

After her studies, she was involved in the production and management of cultural projects in Israel and New York, After 5 years working as assistant curator at Beit Hair city municipality museum, she was captured by Kuchinate's magic and joined the organization after seeing their exhibit at the museum.

"I feel privileged to work in Kuchinate. Here I can connect my two loves, creating beauty, and contributing to society and the community.

 

Rachel Gutman, Director of Development

Rachel Gutman is the managing director at the Consortium for Israel and the Asylum Seekers, an umbrella organization dedicated to coordinating efforts and raising awareness about the African asylum-seeking communities in Israel, and involving donors, volunteers, and communities in seeking an improvement to this issue. Raised in the U.S and Israel, Rachel studied English Literature and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, and went on to pursue a degree in teaching from the University of San Francisco.  She taught Social Studies and Language Arts in San Francisco public schools as well as at Upward Bound, a college preparatory program for inner-city youth. She returned to Israel in 2002 and has worked in the sphere of writing and fundraising, most recently as director of development at Unitaf, an organization dedicated to providing daycare and social services to the children of refugees and migrants in Tel-Aviv.  Rachel lives in Tel-Aviv with her husband and three daughters.

Eden Gebre, Quality Control Manager

Eritrea

 

Eden is a mother of 3 kids (4-year-old twins and a 2-year-old girl) and she takes care of her niece full time since her mother abandoned her. She came to Kuchinate a year ago because she had a liver transplant and couldn't work and was very sick. In Israel, Eden doesn't have health insurance and she can't afford the expensive treatment she needs. She owes the hospital so much money that she will never be able to pay it off.

 

At Kuchinate, Eden is responsible for quality control checking on the baskets.

 

Her dream is to find a home; a place that will accept her so that she could build her life.

Asmeret Haray, Event Coordinator and Childcare Director

Eritrea

Asmeret is from Eritrea, she came to Israel in 2011. Asmeret described her journey to Israel as very hard and difficult, it took 1 month. Asmeret is a single mother who has two daughters who are both in Israel. “Even though I have friends in Kuchinate, I sometimes I still feel alone in Israel, I miss my family, my mother, sister and brother are still in Eritrea.” Asmerate dreams of having a good place for her kids.

Selam Gonits, Community Manager

Eritrea

Salem came to Israel from Eritrea in 2011. She lives with her husband and two pre-school age children.

“Coming to Israel was hard. We traveled on the road. We had a car accident and I still suffer back problems from it. It’s hard and it affects my life. There’s a lot I can’t do, but thanks to Kuchinate I crochet baskets. My dream is to feel well and live well and to learn English.”

Berahti Somon Youhanas, Child Minder

Eritrea

Berahti is married and has two kids. She dreams of a bright future for her family and hopes that one day everything will be light.

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104 Sderot Har Tziyon, Tel Aviv Israel 

 

Saturday & Sunday - closed

Monday, Thursday, Friday - 10:00 - 14:00

Tuesday & Wednesday - 10:00 - 18:00 

© 2017 by ARTS African Refugee Therapeutic Services.