World ORT, a group of Fellowship-funded Jewish schools throughout the former Soviet Union (FSU), estimates that 20 percent of students wouldn’t be able to attend their schools without The Fellowship funding their hot meals, bus rides, and school security systems. Recently, we received this heartfelt thank-you letter from a grateful student in Odessa, Ukraine:
I am glad that I am studying at the most technological Jewish school in the city of Odessa. Before 9th grade, I studied at another ordinary school located near my house. I am fond of computer science and once, at one of the exhibitions, I saw students from Odessa ORT school who gave a demonstration on their robotics projects. My mother and I learned that Odessa ORT school offers in-depth classes on ICT [Information and Communications Technology] and robotics, as well as Hebrew and the traditions of the Jewish people. And we immediately decided that I would transfer to the ORT school. This decision has improved my life!
My mom worried because the new school is very far from our home. On public transportation, I would have to travel for one and a half hours one way, so I’d spend every day up to 3 hours on the road. In addition, the travel would cost a lot of money, and, as I live together with only my mother, we couldn’t afford additional costs. Due to the help of The Fellowship, the students can ride on school buses free of charge, which greatly influenced our decision for me to go to this school. Now my journey to school takes 40-50 minutes. I'm traveling with my classmates, and my mom does not worry about me because she knows that I'm safe!
I have a lot of friends in school. After lessons I usually attend robotics circle or study programming and work on various projects under the supervision of the computer science teacher. Last year, my project, which I titled “Smart House,” took 1st place in the competition “I'm the inventor,” where students submit a 1-minute video explaining their invention to the ORT STEM CUP 2017 academic event. I became the winner of the regional stage of the Olympiad in ICT and participated in the all-Ukrainian stage. After just two years of studying at ORT school, I learned a lot and won a lot of prizes and diplomas!
I became a member of the school’s robotics team and traveled to new cities. I participated in Robotrafik Robotics competitions in Haifa, Israel, and the International Hackathon in Kiev, as well as competitions and exhibitions in Odessa and Kiev. I was very impressed by the trip to Israel and became acquainted with this wonderful country. I decided that after graduation, I will live and study in Israel. At the moment, I have already submitted documents for Masa program [an Israeli-hosted study abroad program for young people ages 18-30].
I really like my school. I dream that it will remain open for a long time, so school leaders and teachers will continue to present knowledge about Jewish life and modern technologies to all current and future students. And thanks to The Fellowship’s kind attitude and ongoing care and sponsorship, this is not a dream, but a reality!