New programme quadruples World ORT beneficiaries in Israel


28 October 2009 New programme quadruples World ORT beneficiaries in Israel World ORT is quadrupling the number of people benefiting from its programmes in Israel by administering a network of distance learning and other services for hospitalised children set up by the Kav Or charity. Joining forces with Kav Or means that World ORTs educational expertise already benefiting some 40,000 people in more than 30 municipalities through its multi-faceted Kadima Mada programme will reach the 120,000 children who are treated in Israels 27 main public hospitals each year. This is a massive undertaking which represents a significant challenge and an even greater opportunity for World ORT to provide an incredibly important service, said Avi Ganon, who is managing the project for World ORT. And it represents another vote of confidence in World ORT by the Ministry of Education with whom we have been working closely in the implementation of Kadima Mada. The exciting new venture was launched this week simultaneously at the 410-bed Hillel Yaffe Medical Centre in Hadera and the 1,000-bed Hadassah-Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. Education Minister Gideon Saar talks to a young patient at Hadassah Hospital launch as (from left) Rony Kalinsky, Robert Singer and Avi Ganon look on. Education Minister Gideon Saar demonstrated the importance of the project by attending the launch ceremony at Hadassah. There he was told that World ORT had two broad primary objectives: to standardise the equipment and technology in the participating hospitals and to enhance the distance learning component by revamping the Kav Or website to make it into a virtual school using videoconferencing technology. Mr Sa’ar said: ‘We have a special infrastructure here in Israel whereby Ministry of Education-run schools inside hospitals receive sponsorship and support from a voluntary agency. It is extremely important that children who cannot attend regular school continue with their education, both from an educational perspective and for the childrens emotional well-being when it comes to helping them deal with their hospitalisation.’ Mr Ganon said World ORT was gearing up to make a 15 million NIS investment in the programme over the next four years initially focusing on the introduction of wireless Internet connections and the provision of laptop computers for bedridden children. A feature of the launch was the presentation of computers to Hillel Yaffe and computers and an Interactive Whiteboard to Hadassah. We also need to upgrade the system by introducing it to more volunteers, promoting and adapting the website to make it relevant to older students, upgrade the technical level of the pedagogical team and telling medical teams about what we do so that they can encourage children to use the services, Mr Ganon said. Also at the Hadassah launch ceremony were the hospitals Director General, Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the Chair of World ORTs Board of Trustees, Mauricio Merikanskas, Kav Or co-founder and Chairman Dr Amnon Shinar, World ORT Director General and CEO Robert Singer and Kadima Mada Executive Director Rony Kalinsky. Hospitals in Israel are perhaps uniquely legally bound to provide educational facilities for school-age children undergoing treatment and the principals of the 27 such schools participating in Kav Or were also at Hadassah for the launch to see how World ORT planned to ensure that they would be equipped to provide children with the best education possible. The Senior Deputy Director General of Israels Ministry of Education, Dr Itzhik Tomer, directed the founders of Kav Or Drs Shinar and Bilha Piamenta towards World ORT when they sought a partner to take their mission forward. With World ORT taking over implementation of the programme, Kav Or will focus on fundraising. Dr Shinar said he had no misgivings about handing over his organisations work to World ORT. When you see your child grow do you have mixed emotion about it I think World ORT is better equipped than anybody else to take this programme forward. Since 1993, Kav Or has been providing hospitals with computers fitted with specialised software designed to allow child patients to maintain social and educational links to friends and schools as well as pursue independent learning. In addition, children can reduce their anxiety by accessing a specially prepared database with information about the treatment they are undergoing and so increase their understanding. Among other things, Kav Or also provides ICT training for educational staff in hospitals. In a letter of thanks to Mr Ganon, the Executive of the Hillel Yaffe Medical Centre wrote: Kadima Madas contribution will enable continuity of learning for the children in the hospital We appreciate your assistance for such a superior goal improving the welfare of our young patients and their families. We value your work and look forward to further fruitful cooperation between us. Mr Singer said: ‘Our international support, as well as the knowledge and experience that we have gained over many years, will give Kadima Mada’s Kav Or project a significant boost. World ORT is very proud to have been selected to take this extremely important project to the next level. A child who is hospitalised for a long period can feel uncertainty and disconnection from their normal environment. We will provide them with the appropriate tools and technologies to ensure that their hospitalisation and rehabilitation is as undisruptive as possible. As far as we know this is a unique project nothing like it exists in any other country. Not only is World ORT well equipped to take on this task we look forward to a further 10 psychiatric hospitals coming on board.’