Rounding up ORT Day 2020


Students across the ORT network came together to celebrate ORT Day 2020 on Wednesday and to acknowledge our global connection, shared history and vision for the future.

Despite the challenges posed by Coronavirus and the closure of so many ORT schools, activities continued remotely with a great turnout around the world.

The annual event holds special meaning this year as it marks the 140th anniversary of ORT’s foundation in Russia in 1880.

Students from the ORT Secondary School #94 in Odessa, Ukraine, sent postcards to their fellow students at CIM-ORT in Mexico as part of our exchange project, and students in Moscow also prepared cards. Around another dozen schools have prepared postcards to be delivered around the world in the weeks to come.

Pictures were also shared online of students creating a heart shape with their hands to mark this year’s ‘heartbeat’ theme.

Natasha Shaw, ORT’s Education Project Manager, said: “This ORT Day we continued to celebrate our organisation’s rich history, global reach and shared vision for the future, despite the difficult current global circumstances.

“While many schools are closed and adapting to new home teaching and learning arrangements, we delivered several initiatives to help bring our community together, maintaining participation in our day of celebration.

“We look forward to launching further remote and online opportunities, building from our experience of ORT Day, in order to continue to support our network and relieve pressure on schools at this time.”

The ORT Day global quiz attracted more than 100 entrants despite it not being possible for a planned joint live event to go ahead.

Dr Elena Petersen – chief scientist, assistant professor of molecular and biological physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology – led an online Q&A with students who had viewed her masterclass prepared for ORT Day.

She discussed how scientists today are constructing new organs, growing ‘artificial’ tissues and other technological innovations humanity may never have thought possible. Dr Peterson also described how the scientific community will be impacted by Covid-19 and how modern technologies such as 3D modelling and machine learning will contribute to modern medicine.

You can watch Dr Elena’s Q&A in English below, and in Russian via our YouTube channel.

The other masterclasses featured Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, discussing his childhood in apartheid South Africa, and Naftali Aklum, brother of Farede Aklum, an ORT teacher who worked with Israel to help coordinate the exodus of Ethiopian Jews from Africa.

Combined, the masterclasses have been viewed more than 250 times.

The resources for the ORT Day activities are still available here. And the social media campaign remains live for you to upload your images using the hashtags #ORTtogether and #ORTDay.

Although the annual day of connection and togetherness took place in very different circumstances to other years, it remained a fabulous opportunity for teachers, students and beneficiaries to acknowledge their part in a 140-year-old movement which is passionate about making the world a better place through education.