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SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM - “Olim B’Ivrit” for New Immigrant Children

Registered Name: ICEJ CANADA AID AND DEVELOPMENT

Business No: 810954743RR0001

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM - “Olim B’Ivrit” for New Immigrant Children

PROJECT NAME: “Olim B’Ivrit” Program - Hebrew and Absorption Project for Immigrant Children in Akko

Project Background: 

Akko is considered to be on the socio-economic and geographical periphery. Though Akko deserves to be a major tourist attraction, the ancient port city has not received the major investment required from Government or private business that would attract Israeli and foreign tourists. The civil unrest in May 2021 between Arab and Jewish citizens further strained the already impoverished economy and population. 

Historically significant city, Akko has a population of 54,000. Located in the coastal plain region of northern Israel, Akko’s population is made up of Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Baháʼís and is considered one of Israel's most successful mixed cities. Thirty-two per cent of the city's population is Arab and there are some 27 schools there with an enrollment of 17,000+ children. 

Traditionally, Akko has also absorbed large numbers of immigrants from across the world. Akko’s immigrant population peaked at various times over the past 30 years, especially over the past 2-3 years: 25% of Akko’s population are now immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ukraine – some 13,500 people! Beyond this 30% of Akko’s school children are immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ukraine. 

Target Population and Program Description: 

A new idea was born to help University Students struggling to pay for their advanced education by offering them scholarships in exchange for 290 tutoring hours to immigrant children to help them learn Hebrew and address other integration challenges. 

Program Goals: 

A minimum of three hours a week of Hebrew language assistance and enrichment offered to the Russian speaking children. Students will help the children with their studies in Hebrew and work intensively with them to make it easier for them to learn the language. The program is aimed at those children who have been in Israel for at least two years, yet who are still struggling both in Hebrew and in general in school. The university students work with the children as part of their school day, under the guidance of their teachers. 

Evaluation results demonstrate that 87% of elementary school children who have received this essential aid, have improved academic outcomes, while 100% of the university students or "mentors" complete their degrees, acquiring leadership skills and a greater sense of confidence to accompany them as they embark on adulthood and their careers. 

Our Goal is for $46,290 per year. In June ICEJ Canada was able to send $36,710 so a big boost for this project, thank you so much, together we made a huge difference and have nearly completed our committement for 2023! 

FALL 2023 UPDATE:

Rachela Sabag is originally from Nahariya. In the past year, she studied in the ‘Mechina’ preparatory year program for a degree at the Galil Maaravi College. Her goal is to study Marine Science at Ruppin College.

About mentoring the immigrant kids in her own words…….

My experience with the “Olim B’Ivrit” mentoring project was truly one-of-a-kind and unlike anything I had ever encountered before.

It was my first time actively participating in community building, specifically within a student "village," and collaborating with children whose native language differed from mine.

Initially, this posed a flood of fears and concerns as I wondered how I would connect with children whose cultures were vastly diverse. However, as soon as I immersed myself in the project, I realized how profoundly fulfilling it was. Witnessing a child, for whom Hebrew was foreign, grasp a few words or comprehend their meaning, was incredibly satisfying and uplifting.

Moreover, living within the students' community added another unforgettable dimension to my experience. The friendships forged during this project became like a second family to me. The welcoming atmosphere that permeated every aspect of our community was remarkable, as I found support and assistance for every little need I had.

In summary, my time so far with the ESRA Students Build a Community scholarship program “Olim B’Ivrit” project has been a captivating and unparalleled adventure that I would highly recommend to other students!

 

Inbal Barzilay is in her second year of the Olim B’Ivrit project, she is originally from Kfar Saba. Inbal is studying for a degree in Medical Studies at Bar Ilan University.

In her own words……

My name is Inbal, and I am currently a second-year student. Through my involvement in the Olim B’Ivrit Hebrew program, I had the opportunity to tutor a fourth-grade student who had immigrated to Israel, less than a year ago.

With the onset of the war between Russia and Ukraine, his family made the decision to move from St. Petersburg to Israel. I felt incredibly privileged to be a part of his journey. The scholarship not only provided me with the means to succeed in my studies this year, granting me peace of mind, but it also bestowed upon me the ability to make a meaningful impact on a child who was experiencing Israel for the first time. 

Thanks to the scholarship, I gained valuable experience in developing lesson plans and learned effective methods to assist with Hebrew language learning. Stepping out of my comfort zone and exploring this new aspect of my life taught me invaluable lessons and provided me with training in this field. I reached out to my brother, who happens to be a Hebrew teacher for American Jews living in New York, and he provided me with knowledge and recommendations on how to proceed.

The experience of mentoring my student, while also getting to know him and creating a safe space for him to make mistakes and learn, taught me a great deal. I was delighted to accept the opportunity to be there for him and to assist him as much as possible in navigating the new language and culture. Being his listening ear gave me a profound sense of purpose, and I witnessed remarkable improvements in his confidence and his command of the Hebrew language.

The Olim B’Ivrit program has shown me the tremendous impact we, as students, can make. It has emphasized the importance of taking action, even when it may seem insignificant - as for one child, it can be a life-changing experience.

I am sincerely grateful for the privilege of being a part of this project, and I am proud to have contributed to this initiative.

This project is part of the Bless Israel Fund, thank you for making a difference with your support & prayers!