This open letter from Amelie Esquenazi, ORT’s Networking Coordinator for Latin America, charts the impact Coronavirus is having on ORT schools, students and teachers across the continent – and the amazing lengths they are going to in order to help others in the wider community.
Dear colleagues and friends,
I would like to send you this message hoping that each and every one of you, wherever you live, is safe and sound and that this situation that prevails in the world unites us to be able to strengthen ties between all of us who form the network of ORT schools around the world.
In my role I have had the privilege of being in contact and very close to many school principals who are working tirelessly to give their students and all the staff who work with them the best possible care and quality of distance education.
I would like to share with you one moving experience I have witnessed. Avi Meir, director of Colegio Israelita de México ORT (CIM-ORT), has formed an incredible team of professionals who care deeply about their educational community.
As well as keeping the academic program running virtually, and sticking to the values of tikkun olam, CIM-ORT has campaigned to help older people who are totally isolated in nursing homes. With the use of technology, and working with the carers at the homes, ORT students have managed to communicate with them every day to run talks, read books and even dance if necessary – all online.
They have found out which families from the school need financial aid and have sent them groceries – again, dealing with everything online – so no one is left without the essentials.
The school principal and the group of directors make a call every day to all the students who are in a vulnerable situation or have any type of illness, no matter how minor. One young student told the director: “I know we can’t visit each other, but please don’t get sick.”
They have managed to share programs from K1 through high school with their colleagues, making a true support network among ORT schools.
Every day Avi and the CIM-ORT team get up with the intention of bringing joy to everyone’s homes. Each morning I have a personal message: “How are you my friend? Do not worry, everything will be fine.”
In addition to daily lessons, there are online classes running suitable for people of all ages – dancing, yoga, cooking. Every day there is hope and joy in the midst of the concern we all have.
Kol Hakavod to everyone who is making a difference for all the ORT family and to children around the world!
“Service is the lifeblood of any organization. Everything flows from it and is nourished by it.”