"What is a healthy relationship and what is an unhealthy relationship? No one talks to us about these things. This workshop gave me a sense of confidence on all sorts of points – on relationships, on sexuality."
-16-year-old participant in a Lada'at workshop for healthy sexuality for girls
Lada'at - Choose Well was founded in 1976 (under the name "Shilo") to promote healthy sexuality and support women and couples of all ages in Jerusalem in realizing their reproductive rights. Lada'at was the first non-profit in Israel to address issues of sexual health and reproductive rights by combining community-based educational activity, supportive peer counseling for women, men, and couples, and medical clinic services all under one roof. With only 3 paid staff and a dedicated team of more than 20 volunteers, Lada'at reached more than 4,000 beneficiaries of all backgrounds through its educational and support services in 2015-2016. Located in the heart of Jerusalem, we serve the full range of the incredibly diverse population of the city, regardless of age, race, origin, or sexual orientation. Our beneficiaries include both religious and secular Jews, Arabs, African asylum seekers, foreign workers, and tourists.
Vision and Mission
We envision a society in which sexuality is perceived as an inherently positive and integral part of human nature, and all individuals have full access to reliable information and services which enable them to live out their sexuality based on conscious choice. We support a woman's right to choose, and believe that women should have full control over their reproductive choices. Our mission is to ensure that all individuals have full access to information and are empowered to make and implement conscious, healthy, safe, and authentic choices regarding sexuality and reproductive health. Our specific objectives are:
-Provision of reliable, accurate, and unbiased information and services on sexuality and reproductive health on a basis of respect, and without judgment or preconceived notions.
-Empowerment and education on an individual level so as to enable individuals to make choices regarding their sexuality that are healthy, authentic and safe.
-Promotion of a public environment and discourse in which sexuality is perceived as an inherently positive aspect of human experience, a woman's right to choose is respected, and all individuals' choices regarding their sexuality and reproductive life are able to be realized.
Counseling Center and Clinic – Thousands reached annually
Lada'at’s drop-in center is open every evening of the week and provides clients – regardless of age, ethnic background, or gender – with individualized information on contraceptives, and counseling surrounding unplanned pregnancy. We seek to empower our clients to make informed and healthy choices regarding sexuality and reproduction, especially in times of crisis or urgent situations. Our gynecological clinic offers completely anonymous reproductive health medical services. We operate a telephone hotline and online chat services active daily to provide answers on urgent questions regarding sexual health, contraception and unplanned pregnancy.
Ladaat’s website (www.ladaat.org.il) serves as a resource center with a library of scientifically accurate information on reproductive health and rights in Israel. The Counseling Center and Clinic are staffed by a cadre of more than 20 committed volunteers trained by Lada'at.
In the 2015-2016 activity year, we directly reached approximately 1,000 beneficiaries through these services, and more than 130,000 Israelis accessed our website seeking information on sexual health. We are the only organization providing these services in Jerusalem.
Education for Healthy Sexuality – 3,000 youth, educators and parents reached annually
Through our Education Program, we aim to empower today's young people with the tools and knowledge to live out healthy sexuality. In our workshops for healthy sexuality, we meet teens eye-to-eye, speaking in their language, and helping them build skills for making healthy, responsible decisions about relationships and sexuality, while encouraging them to think critically about gender norms, pornography, and media. We reach a range of target audiences, including normative youth, and specific at-risk groups, including youth at risk, and teens of Ethiopian or Eastern European descent.
Beyond work directly with youth, we also work with educational staff within school settings, psychosocial staff in informal settings, and parents. These workshops provide tools to adults to enable them to serve as promoters of healthy sexuality among adolescents.
In the 2015-2016 school year, we reached approximately 3,000 youth, educators and parents in the greater Jerusalem area through workshops.
Advocacy for Policy Change
We see lobby work as an integral part in bringing about broad-level change. To that extent, we engage in work aimed at changing policy and creating a public environment which promotes healthy sexuality. Key activities include:
- -Taking part in the JDC-Ashalim-led initiative to develop the "National Inter-Ministerial Plan for the Promotion of Healthy Sexuality and Prevention of Sexual Violence in Israel".
- -Playing a key role pushing for the inclusion of funding for abortion procedures for women up to age 33 in the basket of free medical services provided to all Israeli citizens, which passed in 2014.
- -Membership in a forum of Israeli feminist and rights organizations currently working to take action to change the Israeli abortion law and counteract anti-choice forces in the Israeli public and government, and promote access to a wide range of contraception.
- -Collaboration with the Yerushalmim Party in the Jerusalem Municipal Council to promote the inclusion of sex ed in all Jerusalem schools.
Awards and Recognition
In July 2016, Lada'at received a Ceritifcate of Recognition from the Knesset and the Israeli Medical Association in appreciation of our 40 years of work on behalf of women's health in Israel.
In 1995 Ladaat – Choose Well (Formerly Shilo) received the Badge of the City prize from the Jerusalem Mayor for the organization's contribution to residents' welfare. The prize committee commented that "We were greatly impressed with the work done by the volunteers of this organization, its caring and devotion and contribution to the welfare and quality of life of the residents of Jerusalem."
Dr. Shlomit Sholov Barkan – Chairwoman
Anat Ben Zaken
The founding members included:
Gidi Levi, Marom Rachmani,Ami Samin, Michal Cohen, Elizabeth Rothchild, Rami Erez, Revina Patagy, Tasa Bimer, Chanoch Yerushalmi, Ora Shintsky, Dr. Gumpel Bert, Karni Aharon and Dalia Davidoff.