World ORT is playing a critical role in the response to the horrific terror attacks across Israel on October 7. We are determined to give children in the country the opportunity to reach their full potential, despite the devastating consequences of the past three weeks.
Our priority remains to help our beneficiaries with educational and psychological support, to enable them to maintain their education in the face of great disruption to normal daily life, and to give them the best circumstances possible to focus on learning.
World ORT Kadima Mada, our operational arm in Israel, has begun to provide support and services to help students and staff deal with the trauma, grief and fear they are experiencing.
The ORT network has raised around $1.4 million so far, but we estimate the immediate needs require a further $2.6 million of financial support right now.
Support is flooding in from around the world. Our fundraising teams in the United States, Britain, Canada, and Switzerland have responded with speed and solidarity – we are hugely grateful to everyone who has contributed.
Major fundraising events in Britain and Canada last week were very successful and provided a meaningful opportunity for supporters to come together and show their care and concern for our ORT family in Israel.
The current needs are as follows:
Mental Health Support
We have evaluated the mental health and emotional needs of all our students and teachers, from mild to severe. Students who have been identified as being in greater need are receiving one-on-one support from our counselors, social workers, and psychologists.
Staff members have access to psychologists for one-on-one and group sessions and we are facilitating sessions for staff and teachers, both at Kfar Silver and across Israel, to discuss coping methods on how to operate in times of stress and uncertainty.
We also sent hundreds of staff members and teachers across Israel personal messages of support and care packages to maintain their resilience and motivation.
Educational Outreach, Distance Learning Services, Teacher Training
Kfar Silver was thankfully evacuated on the day of the attacks. We are now supporting the 1,100 students and staff displaced across Israel through the transition to online learning. We are providing laptops, tablets, and teacher training – and are extending our educational resources to non-ORT students who have been displaced.
We have already provided Kadima Mada laptops to students in Kiryat Yam and will distribute dozens more new laptops to additional students.
We are training all our teachers and instructors in how to facilitate stress-alleviating activities and developing additional activities to reduce anxiety and increase resilience. We have provided training for more than 130 teachers and instructors on effective online instruction. Teachers are also being given STEAM activities to use with students.
Community Outreach and Engagement
We have implemented the following additional face-to-face and online stress relief and educational activities for students in grades 1-8 across Israel, and programming support at evacuation centers.
- Online workshops in subjects such as science, DIY, robotics, coding, VR. Our staff are teaching in 14 schools across seven cities and have facilitated 65 workshops that have engaged approximately 2,000 children.
- Evacuation centers support:
- 20 workshops for 35 children aged four to 12 in past two weeks for evacuees from the south now in Dimona
- STEAM workshops for the children of first responders and essential hospital workers at Rambam Hospital in Haifa
- Daily Robotics and DIY workshops for 40 six to 12-year-old evacuees from Mateh Asher (North) at the Shavei Zion Evacuee Center.
- Daily workshops for 40 elementary school children in Ein Hamifratz and Ness Harim Evacuee Centers for evacuees from the North.
- Purchased Lego Education Spike sets, which are being used in face-to-face activities in evacuee centers.
Support for Staff and Students Directly Impacted
ORT is providing aid to its students and staff directly impacted due to the loss of a family member, a parent who is currently serving in the IDF, or having had to evacuate their home. We are providing 40 students and staff with food, medication, clothing, towels, first aid kits, cell phone chargers, and other basic necessities.
Safety and Security of Kfar Silver Youth Village
Our immediate priority is to finish funding for the installation of saferooms for the staff residences at the village, to ensure staff and their families feel safe to return when the time is right.
Longer-term needs are expected to include:
- One-on-one and group sessions with psychologists and therapeutic workshops for students and staff
- Training sessions in online learning and mental health support for staff
- Care packages for staff
- Laptops, tablets and online learning facilities for students, particularly those who have been evacuated
- Educational LEGO sets
- Running costs and equipment for online STEAM workshops
- Financial aid and necessities for families affected by bereavement, kidnapping or a breadwinner serving in the IDF
- Funds for transportation in the event of the necessity for further evacuation
- Reinforcement of security at Kfar Silver, including replacement of fencing, installation of lighting and closed-circuit cameras