The Jewish community of Kishinev, Moldova, is looking forward to a brand new ORT school, one which will be able to accommodate hundreds more children than before. Once renovation work on a building provided by the Kishinev municipality is completed in four months, the school will enjoy a capacity double that of the current ORT Herzl Technology Lyceum, which is housed in what was formerly a kindergarten.
The potential to expand is critical to the prospects of the 35,000-strong Jewish community’s children, who are already being attracted to ORT in greater numbers, said David Benish, Head of the World ORT WO Representative Office for the CIS, Central Asia, Caucasian States and Baltic States.
“We have had to turn away so many children in the past because ORT Herzl is full with 480 students enrolled. Demand is so great that we will be able to quickly reach our new capacity of about 1,000 students. Families are attracted to the excellent education we offer: ORT Herzl is the only Moldovan school chosen by Microsoft for one of its international educational initiatives and nearly all our students go on to university,”? Mr Benish said.
The new school will boast the exceptional quality learning environment that people have come to expect of ORT with well-equipped science laboratories, plenty of computers and classes with interactive whiteboards. But money is still being sought to renovate spaces for a theatre, kitchen and dining hall, as well as for landscaping the campus.
“I’m glad that we will at last be able to provide the children with a proper sports hall,”? said Mr Benish. “But unless we receive another $365,000 we will have to use the same space for performances and meals which is far from ideal.”?
The current building works are the realisation of a process kick-started in 2011 by a warm meeting between Moldovan Prime Minister Vladimir Filat and top World ORT lay leaders, including World ORT President Emeritus Sir Maurice Hatter, his wife, Lady Hatter, and member of World ORT’s Development and Allocations Committee, Simon Aron. The meeting took place during a mission, which Sir Maurice led, to see the impact of ORT’s projects in Moldova, under the leadership of ORT Moldova President Ilan Shor, and Ukraine. ORT France President Lucien Kalfon, European Day of Jewish Culture in Switzerland Coordinator Nadia Guth Biasini, and member of World ORT’s Board of Trustees, Moti Dotan, were also on the mission.
World ORT Director General and CEO Shmuel Sisso visited the building site last week and expressed his delight with the progress made.
“The school is in a very bad shape and we have to replace a lot of infrastructure “ﾓ floors, ceilings, electrics “ﾓ as well as install new furniture and equipment. But thanks to an anonymous donor who has given $1 million and to Sir Maurice’s and Simon Aron’s donations we have been able to move forward with the work very quickly after we concluding negotiations with the Moldovan authorities.”?