Latin America Campaign achieves first years targets


22 February 2008 Latin America Campaign achieves first years targets World ORTs bid to boost education and strengthen Jewish communities in the recovering societies of Latin America has started well with all goals for the first year of the Latin America Campaign having been met. More than $1 million was pledged half by donors at ORT America, British ORT, World ORT and ORT Switzerland as well as the Safra Foundation and the David and Inez Myers Foundation, with matching funds raised by ORT committees in the benefiting countries of Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico and Panama. This is a great start to the campaign, said World ORT Director General Robert Singer. I must pay tribute to all involved: everything has gone according to plan, which bodes well for the campaigns future. The region is emerging from a decade of economic turmoil so there are increasing opportunities for people with the right skills ORTs education and vocational training expertise has an obvious and vital role to play. The Latin America Campaign kicked off with the inauguration of ORT Mexicos Media Training Centre, an advanced technology education centre that is used by students at all the local Jewish day schools as well as young adults seeking training. Another objective met has been the connection of Cubas fragmented, but growing, Jewish community through an intranet system. Because of the circumstances of the Cuban community this project has been fully funded from abroad, in particular ORT Toronto. The intranet connection will enable ORT Cuba to provide distance learning programmes for Jews in towns without easy access to Havana. Many Jewish families are still struggling to make ends meet after having lost so much during the years of economic instability so find it difficult to provide their children with a Jewish education. Instead, they resort to non-Jewish public schools which often have lower standards and increase the risk of assimilation. To counter this trend, Brazil and Uruguay have extended their scholarship schemes to ensure that more young Jews can benefit from an ORT education regardless of their financial situation. The funding targets set for this year have been fully met local and internationally. And the year rounded off with the establishment of an ORT Committee in Panama and the installation of a new, state-of-the-art science laboratory at the Isaac Rabin School in Panama City. World ORT Representative in Latin America Isidoro Gorodischer said he was looking forward to the campaign reaching even greater heights in coming years. The Latin America Campaign really took off during the year and I anticipate this momentum only to grow because the ORT organisations and Jewish communities across the region are very enthusiastic about it. As we implement more projects such as making a start on a new school in Chile and increasing capacity in Argentina I expect the wider ORT family will only gain a deeper appreciation for just how important this campaign is, Mr Gorodischer said.