ORT America President backs plan for ORT school in Chile


December 04, 2007 ORT America President backs plan for ORT school in Chile The President of ORT America, Doreen Hermelin, has supported the vision of an ORT school in the Chilean capital, Santiago. Mrs Hermelin visited ORT Chile while in the country for a family wedding. At ORT Chile she experienced a vocational training class for blind people and heard in detail about plans to open a new, affordable Jewish school; currently, Santiago has two Jewish schools serving a total of 1,700 students. There are 2,000 Jewish children of school age who do not have the option of a Jewish education, Mrs Hermelin said. If ORT can build its own school it could reach these children. In principle I support this project as long as the local community supports it. The first step to realise the vision of an ORT school in Santiago is the raising of money through the Latin America Campaign World ORTs four-year, $9 million campaign to boost the continents struggling smaller Jewish communities and boost the success of ORTs major operations. Each of the major beneficiary countries Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay will match international donations through local fundraising. Our school will appeal to parents seeking an alternative to the existing option, said ORT Chile National Director Marcelo Lewkow. The new school will offer World ORTs internationally acclaimed curriculum combining state-of-the-art science and technology education and vocational training with an excellent Jewish education using the most modern pedagogical methods available. Doreen Hermelin talks to a student at ORT Chile. World ORT Director General Robert Singer added: I am very happy that Doreen, as one of ORTs major leaders, has taken such a strong position on this issue. As is always the case, when World ORT, ORT America and the national operational organisations work closely together its a win-win situation that brings outstanding results. I am confident that, thanks to the highly professional team in ORT Chile, this will be proven once again with the addition of another formal ORT school in Latin America before the 130th anniversary of our organisation. ORT Chile is recognised nationally as having had a great social impact through educational and training projects for the Ministry of Education and various municipalities and with the backing of businesses and institutions such as Chiles largest telecommunications company, Telefonica, and the Coca Cola Foundation. Mrs Hermelin experienced first hand one of these projects, the training of blind people in telemarketing skills, by being blindfolded and participating in a class with 20 students. ORT Chile trains 400 blind people annually in special laboratories it has installed across the country with the financial support of Telefonica and the Maurice Hatter Foundation. ORT Chile is training blind and disabled people for employment, theres nothing else like it available in the country. Im very impressed by the way they do it its exactly what ORT is all about, Mrs Hermelin said. I will be telling everyone at ORT America about what Ive seen. ORT Chile is also renowned for its excellent performance in raising educational standards in public schools. The Ministry of Education gave it, together with several other NGOs, 10 schools to improve. The results of our schools were the best so were now considered the standard in improving teaching in vulnerable schools and are currently half-way through a second four-year programme with 10 more schools, Mr Lewkow said. World ORT is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation and has benefited more than 3 million people Jewish and non-Jewish in 100 countries since its foundation in 1880.