Meet Janette Kay
WIZO Women come from all walks of life.
Let’s get to know some of our members and find out what WIZO means to them.
Hi Janette, tell us why you joined WIZO initially. What year was it?
I joined WIZO in 1984. I met my old school friend Karen Pisk and she told me about an established WIZO Playgroup at West Pymble. It was a good opportunity for me and my children to make new friendships. Now that the children have grown, I still have an incredible network of friends.
My involvement in WIZO grew from there. I became Secretary of WIZO Tsafon in the 1990’s and in 2011 took over the role of Presidency. As time goes by, some of our members are now either widowed, divorced or have health issues. Through our friendships that began at WIZO there is a caring attitude amongst us to ensure no one is neglected.
How would you explain WIZO to someone who has never heard of it?
WIZO plays a vital role in establishing shelter, refuges and schooling centres in a safe environment in Israel. There are many young children and young adults who benefit greatly through rehabilitation, and they learn new skill sets that enable them to progress to a better and more stable life as they approach adulthood.
What does WIZO mean to you?
My mother was WIZO Woman. She would visit manufacturers with a friend and collect garments for the WIZO shop. My mother also socialised with WIZO ladies and they regularly played cards.
WIZO is a recognised world brand and through its vast membership is recognised by United Nations.
Also, knowledge is a main aspect of what WIZO means to me. I feel engaged and recognise the efforts of donors and the difference WIZO can achieve to the lives of disadvantaged youth.
Why is WIZO important today?
Unfortunately the countries surrounding Israel are constantly threatening war. As such, a huge portion of Israel’s budget is appropriated to defence.
One of the items that is therefore most affected is the social and welfare budgets. This is where WIZO fills the gaps and provides some of the services that can be overlooked. With the assistance of the Israel government, WIZO bridges that gap.
Is there a WIZO function or event that stands out in your mind? Why?
I think I need to pick two!
The first was Hillel Neuer from the UN Watch.
I found Hillel a most inspiring speaker. It was a great feat that WIZO was able to secure a speaker of such prominence. Hillel gave us an insight into the role of a Human Rights Lawyer on UN Watch.
The second event was ‘The Reformed terrorist’- Son of Hamas- Mossab Hassan Yousef.
How often do you get to hear of a terrorist being captured going to gaol, then becoming reformed? He was able to articulate his experience well, and how he was blindsided as a young teenager.
What would you tell someone who was unsure about becoming a WIZO member?
Join and become part of a highly relevant sisterhood!
It really is never too late to join a group. If you are new to the area, it is a good way of meeting and making new friendships. It also gives you the opportunity to be part of a worldwide organisation that has successfully achieved so much to be proud of.
Tell us about yourself outside of WIZO – your family life, work life, other interests.
I had a successful career before starting my own business 4 years ago. Called “HelpuCompute”, I give one-on-one computer lessons on all devices, to mostly seniors, on a range of topics. I also help young adults with resumes or extra tutoring in Microsoft Office applications. I have also assisted people who have disabilities.
I have two sons, one resides in Israel. My eldest son was living in London for 13 years before moving back home. I love being a grandmother to my two grandchildren, watching them grow and learn. Even though my grandchildren are of a different faith, I am endeavouring to teach them about WIZO’s role in Israel.
I am a member of my local community action group and was recently elected to the committee. I like to garden and find this activity very therapeutic.
Is there a WIZO project that you have a particular interest in? Why?
Helping young teenagers who have lost their way comes to mind. It is a stage of life when teenagers are at risk and vulnerable for a variety of reasons. The WIZO project Makom Balev is a brave venture and can fill the void of a dysfunctional family.
Is it time you became a WIZO woman too?