June 05, 2007 Sderot students benefit from World ORT laptops Students from Sderot have been able to use laptops provided by World ORT to complete exam-related work in the safety of their schools bomb shelter. Sderot has been branded Bulls Eye City by the New York Times because of the scores of Qassam rockets fired at it by terrorists in Gaza, just three kilometres away. Two weeks ago, World ORT donated 15 laptops a mobile computer laboratory to the Shaar HaNegev High School, near Sderot, within 24 hours of learning that many lessons had had to be cancelled because of a lack of reinforced classrooms; the computers arrived within hours of a classroom being destroyed in a Qassam attack. By the end of last week, World ORT had given the school an additional computer laboratory comprising 15 laptops. Meanwhile, World ORT donated another 15 laptops to the Shikma high school at nearby Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, which has also come under Qassam attack. ORT America has been a prime supporter of the laptops provision and further funds may be allocated by North American Jewish Federations with existing partnership arrangements with the schools in question. Shem Gulst, the Head of Computer Implementation at the school, told World ORT that the portable computers saved the situation on Thursday of last week as another Qassam attack interrupted a live videoconference between the mayor of the town of Sderot and the conference of President of Major American Jewish Organisations. Many children travel from Sderot to study at Shaar HaNegev. Some sociology students were having trouble using Excel to present data for their bagrut exam, Mr Gulst said. Thanks to World ORT we had these new laptops that we took down into the bomb shelter, which doubles as a youth club, and were able to provide them with the intensive tuition they needed. In this way, they were able to complete the work by the official deadline. But, he added, this was only one example of how World ORT had helped them. Views of the bomb shelter at Shaar HaNegev High School and the laptops, which World ORT donated, in use by students. The laptops have also been used to teach computer skills in special education classes. And some of the special needs students were given permission to take their exams on the laptops instead of writing them without World ORTs computers these students would not have been able to sit their bagrut exam. Also, one of the laptops has been used by the school administrator to process and store all the information relating to our bagrut candidates. This is particularly important because, for safety reasons, the exams are not held here on campus but in another school out of range of the rockets, Mr Gulst said. He said that the students had been told how it was that they suddenly had laptops to use. One student responded that she now felt important because of the aid World ORT has given. We all want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. World ORTs donors should know how vital their contribution is. Thanks to you all. During his videoconference with the Conference of Presidents, Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal reportedly took a defiant tone in the face of the high explosive, shrapnel-packed rockets raining down on his community of 24,000. Nobody will drive us out. It doesnt matter how long it will be or how tough it will be, JTA quoted him as saying. World ORT Director General Robert Singer said: It is sad that innocent young people are forced to conduct life-affecting studies deep underground. But we are delighted that the material support we are providing is helping them to focus on the brighter future their education will bring them. It is humbling to see how World ORT is contributing to the frontlines fight against terror in a truly constructive way. The pen or in this case, the computer is proving to be mightier than the terrorists sword. World ORT is planning other projects in the area such as the reconstruction of the sports field at the Shikma High School, which was ruined by heavy trucks bringing reinforced classrooms. The children desperately need a physical outlet for the tension and trauma they are experiencing, said Sherrie Gazit, World ORTs Projects Manager in Israel. They cant use the sports hall because its too far from any shelters when the siren sounds, the children have only 14 seconds to find cover. 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.