ORT Netherlands supports Kiryat Yam


May 2, 2007 ORT Netherlands supports Kiryat Yam A significant bequest to ORT Netherlands has not only boosted its budget, it has added an impetus to the organisations plans to professionalize its operations. In the short term the injection of funds has allowed ORT Netherlands to commit 20,000 euros ($27,000) to meet social and educational needs in the hard-pressed municipality of Kiryat Yam, near Haifa. This is a World ORT project that the Board feels particularly attracted to, said ORT Netherlands Secretary Rogier Wolf. We like the fact that the money is helping children directly and that the management costs are low. The money will help to buy text books, sports kit, school uniforms and stationery as well as to fund extra-hours tutoring for children who are struggling to keep up because of their parents serious socio-economic challenges. Some 5,000 students currently attend the eight elementary schools, two junior high schools and three high schools in Kiryat Yam, a city which is among the poorest in Israel. During last years war, Kiryat Yam suffered continual rocket attacks in which five people were killed and 25 wounded. Many families are still trying to emerge from the economic effects of the war and children have been particularly affected by post-traumatic stress. The 20,000 euros is the first of what ORT Netherlands plans will be an annual commitment to ORT projects, if not within the Netherlands then internationally via World ORT, as income from the invested bequest needs to be spent immediately. ORT Netherlands Chair Robbert Baruch said: We have a good team whose ambition is to broaden ORTs activities in The Netherlands. I see our donation to Kiryat Yam as the first sign of our commitment to the ORT mission. More will follow! School children in Kiryat Yam will benefit directly from ORT Netherlands commitment. Mr Wolf is a recent addition to the highly committed ORT Netherlands team. He joined after the organisations Chairman, Robbert Baruch, and Honorary Secretary, Susan Thalheimer, approached him for advice in his capacity as head of the personal investment department of ABN Amro private banking in The Hague, the Dutch bank currently at the centre of a massive takeover battle between Barclays Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland. I didnt know much about ORT before I met Robbert and Susan, Mr Wolf said. But I like the idea of helping children through education and I like the fact that ORT also helps people who are not Jewish. This, combined with our international reach, means that we help a broad range of people. He said that, as Secretary, his main focus would be to make ORT Netherlands more professional. New laws being introduced here next year mean that organisations like ORT Netherlands have to be more transparent to the tax authorities, Mr Wolf said. In addition, we need to be more professional in our relationships with donors and in our decision making. These improvements, together with the development of a website that will help us in our effort to be better known in the Netherlands, can be made thanks to the bequest. ORT started operations in the Netherlands in 1946 helping Holocaust survivors prepare for the future. For many of the survivors the future meant Israel and ORT provided vital vocational training that would allow them to build careers as well as the Jewish State. By 1951, ORT was providing 33 vocational courses and training workshops with 22 instructors teaching 17 trades to more than 700 students. In recent decades, however, ORT Netherlands has focused on fundraising for ORT projects around the world. 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.