Five unique projects aimed at making the world a better place have been celebrated as part of an annual social action program.
The World ORT Gina and Joseph Harmatz Award for Social Responsibility highlights the positivity of Tikkun Olam, teamwork, a sense of belonging, forward-thinking attitudes, and problem-solving skills.
In Buenos Aires, students from Escuela ORT Argentina dedicated themselves to improving the training process for health professionals by creating a low-cost doll for practicing CPR and resuscitation on babies.
The project – Resubay – aims to enhance access to technologies which are not always easily available. The doll includes a system which sends data to an app and allows medics to see whether the CPR has been conducted correctly and effectively.
Working in partnership with the national Center for Simulation and Assistance Quality, which covers odontology, gynaecology and ophthalmology, the students’ goal is to make Resubay available to new users in different communities.
One of the most attention-grabbing innovations came from ORT students in Ukraine, who worked together to create a solution to an ongoing problem in the country.
A group from Chernivtsi Lyceum “ORT” No 15, Ukraine, worked together to design and produce much-needed tourniquets for victims of attacks. Their improvised bandages have already been used by civilians suffering from heavy bleeding.
The students, aged 10 to 16, were determined to help fellow Ukrainians and began designing the tourniquets earlier this year.
The team included eighth-graders Kirill and Kyrystyna, and ninth-graders Victoria and Artem. They said: “We feel strongly about our involvement in helping to save people. In these difficult days for our people, we want to be useful.”
The team saw a video about the need for tourniquets earlier this year and realized the school’s 3D printer could be used. ORT’s focus on technology education teaches students new skills needed to gain and maintain expertise for employment in sought-after fields.
The students said: “Tourniquets are needed in case of injuries – they help to stop bleeding and save lives. The first tourniquet we printed was thoroughly tested by doctors. As long as there is a need we will continue to produce them.”
Attempting to tackle the prevalence of racism in Brazilian society, the ‘Beleza Preta’ (Black Beauty) campaign was designed by Escola ORT students to change the media perception of Black people.
One goal of the campaign is to increase self-esteem for Black people of all ages, including by increasing their representation in the Brazilian media. The student worked to produce their own magazine highlighting photography featuring Black models.
In the ‘Count on Me’ project, a student at the ORT-affiliated King David High School, Linksfield, South Africa looked at how they could support those less privileged in society. Among student creations were educational aids to help children learn multiplication tables in schools with fewer resources. This enabled every pupil at the Elsie Ngidi Primary School in Soweto to have their own set of math ‘spinners’ to enhance their learning.
Members of the Volunteer Club at the ORT Technology School in Moscow worked together to visit a Jewish boarding school in the city to create a dedicated project to help children who live and study away from their parents.
Students collaborated to create specific projects aimed at increasing social interaction and building trust with their young peers. All the projects and games had to follow the principles of Tikkun Olam, and activities included a Chanukah workshop and outdoor leisure opportunities.
Prizes in the competition are awarded in memory of the late Gina and Joseph Harmatz, who played pivotal roles in ORT’s history.
Joseph Harmatz was Director General of World ORT in the 1980s and 1990s. He was a partisan who was regarded as a hero of Lithuania’s resistance movement against the Nazis.
Gina Harmatz escaped Nazi persecution in western Europe in the 1930s and 1940s before settling in Israel. She was renowned for her graciousness and the importance she placed on family relationships, and concern for the welfare of others.