June 14, 2007 Gaza rocket hits Shaar HaNegev school For the second time in less than a month, a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza has slammed into the Shaar HaNegev High School. The rockets landed early yesterday (Wednesday) morning near the music classroom shattering several windows, according to the Mayor of Shaar HaNegev Regional Council, Alon Shuster. Fortunately there were no students on site at the time, Mr Shuster was quoted by Y-Net as saying. We are trying to go on with our daily routine in this abnormal situation. British ORT Chairman Alan Goldman, Treasurer Simon Wagman and ORT America Executive Committee Chair Shelley Fagel toured the school last week with World ORTs Head of International Liaison, Sonia Gomes de Mesquita. We were able to show our two biggest fundraising organisations how valuable our help to Shaar HaNegev has proved to be, Ms Gomes de Mesquita said. I feel sick at heart that the threats to the school that were discussed during our tour have been realised. Last month, World ORT supplied Shaar HaNegev with 30 laptops comprising a mobile computer laboratory to enable students to complete critical exam-related work in the safety of the schools underground bomb shelter. The first 15 computers arrived just 24 hours after ORT learned that many lessons had had to be cancelled after another rocket attack because of a lack of reinforced classrooms. Many of the students at Shaar HaNegev live in Sderot, which has been dubbed Bulls Eye City by the New York Times because of the scores of Qassams fired at it by terrorists in Gaza, which is three kilometres away. World ORTs Sonia Gomes, second from left, British ORTs Alan Goldman, centre, ORT Americas Shelley Fagel, second from right, and British ORTs Simon Wagman, far right, see the laptops in use in the bomb shelter. Mayor Shuster said World ORTs assistance was a symbol of his attempt to provide local residents with reasons to continue living under the volcano called Gaza. Ms Fagel said she was comforted in the knowledge that ORT America funding had helped to bring a glimmer of hope to the school community. When we were there in the bomb shelter there was a large group of students working down there feeling safe and laughing, she said. If ORT hadnt provided those computers I dont think many of those students would have been attending the school. Mr Goldman said news of the rocket attack was very disturbing. It reminds me how much they need our support not just the children but also the teaching staff, whose commitment is impressive, he said. In the event of the siren sounding, children and staff have only 14 seconds in which to reach one of the reinforced concrete shelters that are dotted around the campus. Needless to say, many children are terrified and this weeks news shows us why. Mr Wagman added: The students of Shaar HaNegev are just trying to get on with their lives. It was very noticeable as I walked around the campus that no-one was about. The children are too frightened to be out in the open. So theyre very appreciative of being able to work in the shelter with the laptops that ORT has provided them. Shaar HaNegev is also one of the high schools benefiting from Kadima Mada, a $7.4 million World ORT programme aimed at raising the standards of science and technology education in Israel. The programmes hundreds of projects in more than 30 local authorities mark a new phase in World ORTs commitment to bring the best practical education available to the Jewish State over the past six decades. In cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Education, World ORT is supporting dozens of schools with Jewish, Druze, Muslim, Christian and Cherkess students. The first phase saw the supply to each school of a brand new, state-of-the-art laboratory focused on ICT, science or technology depending on the needs of the school. Since then, projects to supply children from poor families with uniforms, textbooks and sports kit have been implemented. Schools participating in Kadima Mada are now looking forward to having WOTECs (World ORT Teaching Empowerment Centres), staff rooms equipped with working stations, scanners, photocopiers, printers, digital cameras, internet and intranet connections, photo and video processing software, design and development software, binding equipment and Power Point equipment everything teachers need to prepare lessons and course work. World ORTs Head of Education and Technology, Vlad Lerner, said: The WOTEC project contributes directly to the Israeli Ministry of Educations stated goal of supporting classroom teachers and other pedagogical staff to raise educational standards. World ORT is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation and has benefited more than 3 million people Jewish and non-Jewish in 100 countries since its foundation in 1880.