ORT Argentina students start new school year assured of a sound future


World ORT has just set up a new scholarship fund that will assist needy Jewish students at ORT Argentina. The ORT Swiss Foundation Scholarship will, over the next three years assist Jewish students at ORT Argentina in continuing their studies. The scholarship will help ease their families’ financial burdens by helping students with their tuition fees. The scholarship fund has been made possible by a Geneva-based foundation, chaired by Mr Paul Guggenheim, a long-time supporter of ORT’s activities worldwide. The scholarship will take effect in March 2001, coinciding with the beginning of the new academic year in South America. ORT Argentina will select the six eligible students who qualify for the scholarship and report back to World ORT at the end of the school year with a detailed account of each student’s progress. ORT’s success in Argentina has occurred against a backdrop of fluctuating fortunes for the Jewish community. Economically and politically, the Jewish community, of which ORT is an integral part, is in a beleaguered state. The Buenos Aires Jewish community has endured open anti-Semitism which peaked with the bombing of its the Israeli embassy in 1992, and the bombing of its Jewish community centre in 1994. The latest disaster to Argentine Jewry has been the collapse of the two Jewish banks, which had sustained the community’s activities, and most recently, the general climate of unemployment and recession has made it difficult for individual families to earn an adequate income and pay tuition fees for their children’s education. ORT Argentina provides technical and professional education to Argentina’s Jewish community of more than 250,000. ORT’s two technical high schools offer courses in such fields as musical production, mass media, industrial design and architecture. In addition, ORT Argentina offers two post secondary Institutes of Technology and a Teacher Training College, altogether catering to some 7,000 students. Dr Gideon Meyer, deputy director general of World ORT said that he was delighted to that the Swiss foundation had underwritten the project, which will supplement needy students in Argentina. It is through these types of initiatives, that ORT’s work can be continued successfully. ‘The students are our end products and grass roots support in this way ensures that ORT students will be able to contribute to both the Jewish community and the community at large for many years to come,’ Dr Meyer commented.