25 February 2009 World ORT scholarships for needy students at Kadoorie College A group of 10 Israeli students in need have been given the chance to study for vocational qualifications which could lift them out of the poverty of their parents. The nine boys and one girl live at the multicultural Kadoorie Youth Village in the Lower Galilee whose dormitories are home to more than 300 teenagers from troubled backgrounds. At a private ceremony this week, Shmuel Cohen, World ORT’s Technology Education field team member in Israel, presented the students with 900 cheques to help them meet costs at Kadoorie. ‘Meeting these lovely young people and seeing how much they want to improve their prospects reminded me that you can’t measure success by the heights which people reach but by the obstacles they have overcome to get there,’ Mr Cohen said. One of the recipients, Vitaly, told those present at the ceremony – who included the award-winning Director of the Youth Village, Hillel Hilman, the Director of the High School, Yona Gur, the Director of the Engineering College, Eden Nissim, and the World ORT Innovation Leader at the school, Dalit Avigad – how much the scholarship meant to him. ‘This money strengthens our willingness and determination to succeed; it takes us one step closer to our goals,’ he said. Mr Cohen said Vitaly’s comment was reflected in the words of the other recipients, all of whom described a little of their background as they took turns to receive their cheque. ‘All of them have experienced incredible hardship and acute poverty,’ Mr Cohen said. ‘Some of them have only one parent and many of them have no vacation time because they have to spend their holidays working. They all understand, as one of them said, that although life is hard for them now, these scholarships will help them to complete their schooling and with that education they can look forward to a better life.’ Kadoorie is one of three campuses – the others are Kiryat Ata and Kiryat Yam – supported by World ORT’s Kadima Mada programme which has a post-high school college offering students a further two years of study towards vocational qualifications. Kadoorie’s post-high school division includes an engineering college at which one year’s study can earn students a technician’s certificate and two years can earn them a practical engineering diploma. The latter qualification enables graduates to continue their studies towards a degree in Mechanical Engineering. ‘What’s special about these colleges is that their students receive special permission to defer national service in order to complete their education,’ said World ORT’s PR, Missions and Projects Manager in Israel, Sherrie Gazit. ‘Usually, a teenager with a good enough high school matriculation will go straight into the IDF. These colleges, therefore, offer the chance of advancement for kids who have not performed well academically or who have specifically chosen a focus on engineering. The IDF guarantees graduates jobs in the military which will allow them to use, and build on, their skills. Israel benefits by getting much needed technicians in the IDF and the kids benefit by gaining a clear career path.’ The teenagers at the Kadoorie Engineering College receive stipends from the IDF for tuition fees but the World ORT scholarships, which are funded by a German foundation through ORT Germany, help to cover other necessary expenses such as accommodation and extra tuition. The Kadoorie Youth Village, which includes an agricultural high school and a working farm and research centre, was found in 1933 and boasts the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin among its alumni. Many of its students come from local Arab communities and 1,600 students reflect the multicultural nature of Israeli society with Jewish, Druze, Muslims and Christians among them. The 300 or so residential students come to Kadoorie from across Israel because of the personal guidance and educational support they can enjoy there which helps them to cope with the poverty, abuse or neglect that they have endured.