17 May 2007 Pupils at Qassam stricken Sha’ar HaNegev High School Pupils at Qassam stricken Sha’ar HaNegev High School continue to prepare for their final exams thanks to a mobile computer laboratory donated by World ORT. The team from World ORT’s representative office in Israel has just returned from an enlightening and emotional visit to Sha’ar HaNegev Regional High School where a Qassam rocket demolished a classroom at 9.20am this morning. Fortunately the pupils who usually sit in this classroom were on a school trip and those next door were virtually unharmed. Sha’ar HaNegev is one of the regions participating in World ORT’s Science Journey program. Yesterday, in response to the re-launching of rocket attacks from Gaza into Southern Israel over the last two days, World ORT contacted affected Local Authorities in order to show solidarity, and see how it could help ensure that pupils with important matriculation examinations in less than a month’s time can continue to study with as little disruption as possible. Alon Schuster, Mayor of the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council, explained that ‘although he cannot change the current situation, he can provide his community with a rationale for living under the volcano called Gaza. He can promise an alternative agenda with components such as the best education possible. World ORT’s assistance is a symbol of this agenda.’ Within 24 hours of learning that many lessons at Sha’ar HaNegev Regional High School had to be cancelled due to a lack of reinforced classrooms, World ORT responded to a request for a mobile computer laboratory. Comprised of fifteen laptop computers, the mobile computer laboratory can be operated from any reinforced structure, and will enable students to arrive at class, meet with their friends, supportive teachers and counsellors, continue their studies and, maybe, forget for a while the fear surrounding their daily lives. After this morning’s Qassam attack one pupil stubbornly said ‘I am going to take this external math exam next week, I am going to get a good grade and nothing will stop me.’ According to school principal Aharale Rothstein, ‘Despite the constant attacks, we all still live in this area because we continue to believe in the importance of populating the Negev. We often feel very much alone down here in the South and gestures like that of World ORT do everything to raise our morale. It is not only the wonderful donation and the immediate implementation of the donation which mean so much – more than anything it is the fact that the World ORT team in Israel delivered the equipment personally’. Classrom hit by Qassam Rocket at Shaar HaNegev School World ORT’s team also visited the Shikma High School in the Hof Ashkelon Region in order to evaluate its needs and prepare recommendations for future assistance. 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.