RITES OF PASSAGE & mentoring

If you do not initiate the young, they will burn down the village to feel the heat
— Adapted from an African proverb

Growing up with different cultural communities around the world showed Israh the importance of Rites of Passage in marking major transitions such as child to adult, menstruation, marriage and birth. This led to study and research, working as a midwife within tribal communities, and designing new frameworks for supporting today's youth. 


Youth specialists have evidenced that without community-sanctioned rites of passage, young people create them for themselves. Self-induced rites of passage include drug and alcohol use, gang membership, and bullying. The current increase in mental health issues, eating disorders and crime, against a backdrop of increasing screen time and lack of free play, raises fundamental questions about how we can better help our young undertake a safe and supported passage into adulthood. 

I learnt to love myself more and accept things. I felt safe to be me. It has shown me that people will help you and listen to you and give you real advice from their hearts.
— 'Wild Time for girls' Participant, 2015
It has been a very nurturing and growing experience. The mentorship has been wonderful and she has gained practical skills and emotional insights.
— Parent of 'Wild Time for girls' Participant, 2015

Modern Day Rites of Passage

Rites of passage can be specifically designed to support youth who are coming of age in today's world. A core intention would be to expand their sense of self - helping them move beyond “me” to “we” and find a meaningful and valued role in our global community. Typically, rites of passage are enriched by time out in nature - away from normal routines - and follow a three-phase pattern:

1. Severance (letting go of what you were)

2. Transition (a time of becoming) 

3. Incorporation (bringing the lessons home)

Although there are core ingredients to any rite of passage, Israh focuses on co-creation. Israh has run a variety of programs to suit the individual and group. These have included using expeditions to literally and metaphorically journey from child to young adult, as well as running week long immersive experiences in wild places. She has run programs in the UK and internationally, both for girls alone and for mixed youth groups.  

RITES OF PASSAGE PROGRAMS facilitated by israh

Wild Time for Girls, Devon


Now in its 3rd year, Wild Time offers young women aged 13 - 15 years an opportunity to learn alongside qualified and experienced outdoorswomen, to deepen their sense of self, build confidence and self-worth, and to recognise their strengths and talents.  With Wild Wise

A week long program for young adults aged between 14-18 in the mountains of southern Switzerland. This week focuses on themes arising for both boys and girls as they face adulthood, and culminates in a solo and celebration to mark what they have achieved.

It is so personal, special and in the moment. I would say that it was the best experience of my life. You make amazing friends and you learn so much about so many different things. It brings out all these different parts of you - the whole thing. Makes you realise parts of yourself you didn’t know before.
— Wild Time Participant, 2015
The dawn walk was amazing - waking up early and it was dark, and we started walking in the dark. After a while we were fully awake and it started to get light, with birds singing. I thought it was light but then the sun rose and the sky exploded with light.
— 'Wild Time for girls' Participant, 2015