Help for Latin America


A $9 million campaign is underway tosupport Latin Americas strugglingsmaller Jewish communities and boostthe success of ORTs major operations inthe continent. Part of the money will be raisedinternationally over the coming four years;the rest will be raised by the benefitingcommunities, including Mexico, Argentina,Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela. Many of the countries are emerging froma protracted economic crisis, but there areflies in the ointment: high inflation, skillsshortages, continued high unemployment,and a widening poverty gap. There is much good news coming outof Latin America, said World ORT DirectorGeneral Robert Singer, but the economiesare struggling to adapt to the competinginfluences of rising global energydemands, low-cost imports andtechnological advances. The World ORT Campaign for LatinAmerica aims to guide the many Jewishcommunities, large and small, through thisdifficult period of change and to build asolid base for their future existence.One of the main beneficiaries will beArgentina, which is celebrating its 70thanniversary this year. The education system we have built upin Argentina is one of the best ORToperations in the world, said DarioWerthein, a member of ORT ArgentinasBoard and of World ORTs ExecutiveCommittee. But we are having to turnaway hundreds of students because we donot have the facilities for them. We mustinvest if we are to have the capacity tomeet the communitys needs.Other countries, such as Colombia,Costa Rica, Bolivia and Peru, stand to gainfrom the introduction of the TAVEC(Advanced Technology in ScientificEducation) project, by which ORT Chilehas upgraded science facilities in morethan 50 schools over the past 10 years tothe benefit of some 500,000 pupils. Withthe funding of the Coca-Cola Foundation,ORT Chile has not only provided theschools with refurbished infrastructure andmodern equipment but also with on goingteacher training and technical assistance.In Mexico, ORT plans to establish amedia and IT centre that will providetraining for teachers and workshops forstudents at all local Jewish schools. ORT Uruguay is regarded as one of thetop tertiary institutions in the region butwhile its success may make it a desirableoption for many, there are some whocannot afford its fees. Already, manyJewish undergraduates benefit from asystem of means-based subsidies but, withinternational help, 10 ORT scholarshipscould be offered to underprivilegedstudents. Other beneficiaries include Chile, whereORT plans to establish a school in thecapital Santiago; Brazil, where laboratoryfacilities will be upgraded and tuitionassistance extended to moreunderprivileged students; and Cuba, wherehelp will be given for the operation of theAna and Ben Dizik ORT Technical Centre.