27 June 2008 World ORT helps ill Muslim boy keep up with school World ORT has stepped in to help a seriously ill Israeli Arab boy keep up with his high school studies. Shmuel Cohen, a member of World ORTs Technology Education field team in Israel, presented a laptop to 15-year-old Adel Adnaan Hatib (pictured) in his familys modest third floor flat in the town of Majd Al-Krum in the Galilee. World ORT came to Adels aid after the Manager of the Ministry of Educations Northern Region, Dr Orna Simhon, brought his plight to the attention of the World ORT Representative Office in Israel. Adel has thalassemia major, a genetic blood disorder that requires monthly transfusions, Mr Cohen said. The amount of time he spends in hospital undergoing treatment, combined with the time spent at home recuperating, means that he misses a lot of school. Despite the huge challenges he faces, he manages to achieve good grades. With the laptop, Adel will be able to keep in closer contact with his school, receive homework, and work both at home and in hospital to maintain his admirably high grades. Adel undergoes treatment at the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya which recently became the second Israeli hospital to join World ORTs SMILE programme. Under the programme World ORT supplied the hospital with 10 laptops to help bedridden children keep up with their schoolwork. In addition, 16-year-olds from nearby Mateh Asher and Western Galilee High Schools, which participate in World ORTs Kadima Mada (Science Journey) programme, spend time providing friendship, mentoring and educational assistance to the children. Adel will be among those benefiting from the SMILE project, said Mr Cohen. But he needed his own laptop because of the amount of time he spends at home recovering from the hospital treatment. Although life expectancy is good for those with thalassemia major an inherited disease particularly prevalent among Mediterranean people it can be seriously debilitating with symptoms including severe anaemia, enlargement of the spleen and bodily deformities associated with expansion of the bone marrow. Adel is 15 years old but he is small and thin for his age and looks more like 11 or 12, Mr Cohen said. But when we brought him the computer he was very, very happy and thanked us very much. The inspector of his school, Dr Hamed Tarabiyeh (pictured, right), showed him how to use the computer and before long Adel forgot we were there and was completely focused on learning how to use the laptop. More than one-third of Israeli children reportedly live in poverty, and Adel is one of them. His father, Adnaan Hatib (pictured, left), is on dialysis and unable to work so the family relies on welfare. It was out of desperation that Mr Hatib telephoned Dr Simhon and asked for help for his talented son. My heart is very soft when it comes to children, Dr Simhon said. People know that they can talk to me. They find my number and call me at all times of the day and night to ask help for their children. As Manager of the Northern Region of the Ministry of Education I am not obliged to help individuals but I feel that as someone who works with children in education that I must try to help them, so I do what I can I knock on every door. In this instance, Dr Simhons efforts brought her to World ORTs door and within days a laptop was provided. I am very grateful to World ORT for accepting my request for help, Dr Simhon said. Its a small thing for World ORT and for me but its a huge thing for a family in such a desperate situation. When presenting the laptop to Adel, Mr Cohen said he remembered something Dr Simhon had said at the ceremony to launch high-tech smart classes at the high school in the Druze town of Horfesh. Ornas words came back to me, he said. She said that a great organisation was not only measured by its big missions but also by its ability to conduct small, but no less important, missions. Seeing the happiness and hope light up in Adels eyes I understood perfectly what she meant.