It’s hard to find a computer nowadays without an Intel microprocessor inside. And inside Intel there’s a heart every bit as powerful as their computer chips.
And it’s the heart that Intel managers “ﾓ including Intel Vice President Maxine Fassberg, the head of the company’s massive Israel operation “ﾓ wore on their rolled up sleeves as they did a day’s voluntary work for World ORT’s Kadima Mada-Kav Or project at the Eitanim psychiatric hospital in Jerusalem.
Staff members from Intel’s huge Fab 28 factory in Kiryat Gat, and more from Intel’s Jerusalem plant who helped out at Hadassah University Medical Centre, are just a few of the volunteers who devote their time, energy and skill to making Kadima Mada-Kav Or such a success.
“The support which volunteers give educational staff is so important,”? said Eti Lahav, who is responsible for World ORT’s activities in Israel’s 27 public hospitals. “Without them we wouldn’t be able to bring many of the programmes to hospitalised children that we do. The patients we help range in age from three to 21 so they can’t all be handled in one group. It’s thanks to volunteers that the needs of all these young people can be met.”?
In 2009, World ORT started its administration of the Kav Or service, which was founded in 1993, with the launch of a four-year, multi-million-dollar investment plan. World ORT has been supplying new equipment and technology to the hospitals’ education centres and has upgraded the website of what is now known as Kadima Mada-Kav Or to make it a “ﾘvirtual school’ using videoconferencing technology.
Fab 28 Staff Management Administrator Orli Schwarts recommended that Intel support Kadima Mada-Kav Or after hearing about it in a meeting with a delegation of doctors from Hadassah Hospital. She was a member of the group which planted a new garden and renovated the playground at Eitanim.
“We’d been told that the kids might not join in and just watch us work from the sidelines. But they did: they were thrilled to do it with us, planting and painting. Wow, you could see the excitement on their faces! And it was very emotional for us to see how happy the kids were,”? Ms Schwarts said.
A couple of Intel engineers, Boris Gruman and Avi Dook, got to work on the hospital’s hydrotherapy pool, which had been lying empty and forlorn and is now fully functional again. Their Jerusalem colleagues had helped young cancer and psychiatric patients at Hadassah Hospital to celebrate Chanukah by making electric dreidels with them, sharing sufganiot (doughnuts) and lighting candles.
Their contribution is an example of Intel’s strong social responsibility programme in Israel. World ORT is focusing on such high-tech companies to beef up Kadima Mada-Kav Or’s educational component.
“We’re working with businesses like Intel and Microsoft to help us increase the number of volunteers we have,”? said Avi Ganon, Acting Head of World ORT’s office in Israel. “We hope to involve more people with technology-related skills who can encourage and support kids in their own learning of maths and the sciences.”?
But Kadima Mada-Kav Or volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds.
Dana Milman, 18, from Tel Aviv, and Merav Soffer, 20, from Beit Shemesh, are helping Kadima Mada-Kav Or as part of their national service “ﾓ both of them having been discharged from military service on medical grounds. Their own experiences of undergoing hospital treatment means they can strongly empathise with those they are helping now.
“I make sure that the children are occupied with pleasurable activities while they’re not with the doctors,”? said Merav, who volunteers at Hadassah. “We play on the computers, do creative work and schoolwork. When you work in a hospital you become more understanding and sensitive. The Kadima Mada-Kav Or programme is amazing; I feel it really makes a difference.”?
Dana helps children at the surgical-oncological department at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre.
“I was sick as a child myself so I know the importance of occupying the children and letting them feel normal in this abnormal situation,”? she said. “Kadima Mada-Kav Or is a good programme: school and kindergarten are the most important parts of a kid’s life. Allowing them to keep a “ﾘnormal life’ while hospitalised helps them feel good. And older children benefit from the lessons which allow them to keep up with their classes.”?
Teachers are confined to the hospitals’ education centres, so volunteers like Meital Malky, 24, of Kfar Saba, spend time with those kids who are too sick to make even that short distance.
“I come to their beds with games and laptops,”? said Meital, a third-year criminology student at Bar-Ilan University who receives credits for her voluntary work at Meir Hospital.
Alex Bart, 25, of Ma’alot, receives a scholarship from the IDB Foundation to study economics and management at Emek Israel College in return for volunteering in the community and has been changed by the experience.
“I started my voluntary work like any average student needing a scholarship,”? Alex said. “I’d never done something like this before and didn’t know what to expect. But it’s become a part of me and I do it now because I really want to; it feels right and, at the end of the day, when you’ve made a child smile, it feels great. The children benefit by having fun and not feeling lonely and I’m learning about myself, discovering qualities I never knew existed. Kadima Mada-Kav Or is doing a great job and I’m glad to be part of it.”?
Alex’s experience highlights that a programme such as Kadima Mada-Kav Or blesses those who give as well as those who receive, a fact not lost on Chaya Moss, 23, from Ra’anana. Like Alex, Chaya receives credits towards the degree she is taking at Bar-Ilan, in her case, psychology. But she entered into the arrangement, whereby she spends four hours a week with patients at Schneider Children’s Medical Centre, our of a personal desire to help.
“Because I was blessed with a healthy, loving family, a home and so much more, I guess I feel the need to give back. If I have the means to help others then why not “? she said.
Chaya added: “Some of the kids are there for days, some for week, and some for months. They’re far from their friends, from home and from their everyday life. The educational centres and the volunteers make a big difference. Just by being a friend, talking to them, or simply playing a game, you take their mind off being sick. And when you make a child happy, it’s all worth it. And I benefit from that amazing feeling.”?