World ORT gives children in hospital a reason to SMILE


13 June 2008 World ORT gives children in hospital a reason to SMILE World ORT has created an educational lifeline for bedridden children at the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya with this weeks presentation of 10 laptop computers. The hospital, which lies only five miles from the Lebanese border, is the second in Israel to benefit from World ORTs SMILE project. The World ORT representative office in Israel is currently investigating the expansion of SMILE to other hospitals in the country. Launched at Beer Shevas Soroka University Medical Centre in November last year, SMILE also provides a rewarding opportunity for 10th grade students from schools participating in World ORTs Kadima Mada (Science Journey) programme to perform the community service necessary in order to graduate from high school. In Nahariya, 16-year-olds from Mateh Asher and Western Galilee High Schools will spend time providing friendship, mentoring and educational assistance for children undergoing treatment at the hospital, which is the only major provider of medical care for 500,000 local residents, half of whom are not Jewish. Principal Yael Koppel (pictured, second from right) of the Afik School, which provides special education services for the 160 children who can be in the hospital at any one time, said the laptops would be of particular benefit for those children who are confined to bed. These are the children who cant come to the classes that we provide in the different units and because of this they can feel more isolated, Ms Koppel said. But the contribution of the children from Mateh Asher and Western Galilee schools will bring the most benefit not only to the children in hospital but also to themselves because they will learn the value of giving. The Afik School in the hospital provides education for children between three and 18 years of age; some of them such as those being treated for personality or eating disorders can be in hospital for between six and 12 months while others may be admitted for between three and 50 days for various medical procedures. Even children who are treated as out-patients still need the educational support of the school in order to keep up with their peers. The laptops were formally handed over to the hospital during a ceremony at which hospital manager Dr Massad Bar-Hum (pictured, third from left) said: This is a very exciting moment for our children. From now on, in addition to medical treatment, they have access to better education services. The manager of the Education Ministrys northern region, Dr Orna Simchon (pictured, second from left), said she was very happy with the cooperation between the hospital, the Ministry of Education and World ORT. The highly professional education team at this hospital provides a wonderful service for the children, Dr Simchon said. I am glad that we are seeing more investment put into education. Dr Moshe Daniel (pictured, right), the hospitals deputy manager, thanked World ORT for the wonderful job you are doing. Really, this is a big help, Dr Daniel said after the ceremony. Even just one week in hospital can have a major effect on a childs education. These computers will help them not to lose time from school. Representing World ORT at the ceremony was Meyer Simchon, the teacher at Western Galilee High School responsible for coordinating the students who will be volunteering at the hospital. World ORT is providing the technology and the hospital is providing the human resources, Mr Simchon said. This successful combination is upgrading the education provision for hospitalised children, something which World ORT is very proud of. At the ceremony, Daniella Hadassi (pictured, left), a linguistics teacher at Afik School, used a puppet to accept the computers on behalf of the children, some of whom were in the audience. World ORT Director General Robert Singer said ORT Canada was examining the possibility of bringing the SMILE project to Toronto. World ORT sees this kind of know-how distribution as a very important component of its international work, Mr Singer said.