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Learning for all!

ICEJ impacting Israeli youth with variety of education projects

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Posted on: 
28 Feb 2013
Learning for all!

In February last year, a report released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had encouraging news for Israel, finding that it is the second-most educated country in the world. However, the report also noted that the educational improvements did not occur evenly, meaning that children from underprivileged families in Israel are falling even further behind the norm and thus are in greater need of help to better their lives.

Over the decades of our ministry here in the land, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been privileged to touch and change the lives of numerous Israeli children who otherwise would have had little hope of success.

Many of these children in need of help in their education are from poorer immigrant families. So the ICEJ decided to work with a school in Ramle, where a lot of students have arrived with their families from South America. Most need help with Hebrew, as they have been in the country for just a few years and are still struggling to read, write and speak the local language. They hail from countries like Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico, and often come from families in lower socio-economic levels. Through ICEJ supported programs, they are now making great headway.

A large group of immigrants which need our help in furthering their education is the Ethiopian Jewish community. Ethiopia is a developing country that still has very low educational standards, while Israel is a modern, Western state. The absorption of Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society has proven difficult even if simply due to the vast cultural differences. The difficulties in learning the Hebrew language and in getting a quality education so they can find jobs matching their talents are an even bigger challenge.

For the majority of young Ethiopian Jewish immigrants, it is hard to meet the educational requirements for admittance into university studies. But the ICEJ is committed to helping increase the number of young Ethiopian Jews who can gain access to higher education and thereby integrate better into Israeli society and achieve social mobility. To reach this goal, we are seeking to expand our sponsorship of the Ruppin Academic Center’s unique program for Ethiopian students, which helps these young immigrants fulfil their academic potential.

One student, Gideon, comes from a family of ten and was 8 years old when they moved to Israel. He finished the preparatory course at Ruppin, but by then he was 28 and thus too old to receive financial assistance from the government for university studies. Thanks to support from ICEJ AID, Gideon began his studies and also took a special intercultural mediation training course offered by Ruppin. The school did not place any age limit on Gideon nor require an entrance aptitude test.

“I came with a gap in my education compared to other students. It entails a great amount of effort in learning”, Gideon admitted. “Without the help that we received in educational reinforcement, dorms funding, living stipends, scholarships and the social accompaniment – I would not have succeeded. I truly thank you!”

Along with the special Ruppin program for Ethiopian students, the Christian Embassy also has been supporting schools in Druze villages in the Galilee. Through our cooperation with local governments and educators, we have purchased computers, desks, headphones and books for numerous classrooms. The computers in classrooms have been shown to improve discipline and help children with short attention span to keep up with their peers.

All Druze schools teach honour, ethics, social responsibility and good citizenship. The children, who speak Arabic at home, learn Hebrew at an early age and quickly move on to learn English as well. The ICEJ’s help has been vital in providing a good learning environment for these children.

Recently, the head of the parent’s council in one Druze town expressed his deep gratitude to ICEJ AID, saying: “We are touched that Christians around the world choose to support the education of the Druze.”

Meantime, the ICEJ is also assisting a unique school run by Messianic believers in the heart of Jerusalem called Makor HaTikvah (“Source of Hope”), which teaches grades 1 to 9. The beautiful but aging building where the school is located is barely holding the more than 80 students, and is in need of repairs.

A number of remodelling projects have greatly improved the school grounds and every available inch of space is put to good use. The ICEJ made a significant donation toward the purchase of books and filled the shelves of the school library. In addition, the Christian Embassy invested in tutoring programs for students at the school. In the coming year, the ICEJ also will be helping Makor HaTikvah with the purchase of urgently-needed new computers.

Finally, a special educational project which the ICEJ has helped develop is the “Touching the Horizon” mentoring program. This program provides equal academic opportunities to youths from underprivileged families, by offering after-school activities and trained mentors who help at-risk teens through the last difficult years of high school – when many might otherwise drop out and turn to drugs or crime. The counselling and follow-up continues even into their years of army service.

The Touching the Horizon program is unique in its ability to be set up anywhere in Israel. After only a few years, the ICEJ-funded pilot project has proven so successful in salvaging troubled youths from the cycle of poverty and violence, that Israel’s Ministry of Education has adopted it for nationwide implementation. The Ministry will be paying two-thirds of the costs of expanding the program to 30 schools, and the ICEJ is committed to trying to cover the remaining one-third. We are excited about the hundreds of young lives that will be turned completely around by this initiative. 

Through these and other educational projects, the ICEJ is impacting the next generation in Israel. Please consider partnering with us as we help Israeli youngsters grow into adults with their minds filled with knowledge and wonder and their career goals within reach.

For $700, you can sponsor one youngster in the Touching the Horizon program for one year.
For $15,000, you or your church or organization can bring the Touching the Horizon program to a new Israeli school for one year.

Give today to ICEJ AID for our special education programs for Israeli children.

For a special commentary on the importance of giving our children a Biblical education,


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