31 December 2008 Kiryat Yam ceremony for ORT Braude grantees More than 70 beneficiaries of a World ORT scholarship scheme to help tertiary students from disadvantaged backgrounds have attended a special ceremony in Kiryat Yam to receive the final instalment of their grants and praise for their voluntary work at community centres. The 74 undergraduates at ORT Braude College of Engineering have each received a total of $1,000 towards their tuition fees in return for 60 hours community service at community centres in towns with schools participating in World ORTs Kadima Mada (Science Journey) programme. The 50 men and 24 women Jewish and non-Jewish were selected as most deserving of the scholarship through an intensive vetting process. Whether new immigrants, orphans or simply poor, the students greatly appreciated the opportunity to contribute to the community in return for a grant equivalent in value to up to one-quarter their annual tuition fees at ORT Braude, which was founded in Karmiel in 1989 following a World ORT campaign strongly supported by ORTs friends around the world. They performed a range of activities from entertaining young children at the community centres and serving as youth leaders at outdoor summer camps to providing extra pre-exam tuition to youngsters who can not afford private lessons. At Maale Yosef, students also undertook a census to enable planning for emergency situations and one spent time with a child whose mother is sick with cancer. One of them said: The voluntary activity brought me closer to todays youth and gave me a better understanding of their needs. At the ceremony student Ronen Himor or Kiryat Yam, said: This project really helped take some of the weight off our shoulders in terms of study fees. Ronen volunteered at a night time summer camp helping to provide fun and educational activities for children in Kiryat Yam until 1am a constructive alternative to hanging around the streets during the summer holidays. Handing certificates at the ceremony The Mayor of Kiryat Yam, Shmuel Sisso, told the ceremony: The scholarships will not only help the students with their educational achievements, they will without a doubt also assist the students communities. The scholarship scheme, which was funded by ORT America and the Federation system in the United States, was implemented in conjunction with Chevrat HaMatnasim, the Israeli organisation for community centres. Rachamim Nino, the Director of the Haifa and Valleys District of the Chevrat HaMatnasim, addressed the students, thanking them for the commitment they showed in their voluntary service. He also thanked ORT for funding the project and expressed the hope that it would continue in the future. The Head of Kadima Mada, Rony Kalinsky, said a very strong bond had formed between the community centres, Kadima Mada and the students. This kind of direct help for students who are struggling to support themselves through tertiary studies is one of Kadima Madas most welcome activities because recipients are chosen according to need, Mr Kalinsky said. One of the scholarship recipients, Shmuel, said: The scholarship really helped me out during the exam period when I was unable to work for my living. But it has also helped me by giving me an opportunity to help kids in my home town. Its so important what I was doing with them. Adham, an electronics student, helped out at the community centre in the Arab town of Majdal Krum. The scholarship helped me to recognise the needs of children in my community and the great work of the community centre, he said. Volunteering there has been the experience of my life and I intend to return next year to do more. I am very grateful to World ORT, not only for the money, but for opening a wonderful new world to me.