March 30, 2009 / 5 Nissan 5769
"With the support of Atidim I am studying to be an engineer without heavy financial worries. As part of the program, I am already working in a leading telecom company, which gives me an incredible advantage in my field."
Eran Salfati, 29, is a man of action. After spending two years in Israel’s professional army, in addition to three years of mandatory service, he was discharged on a Thursday, started college at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on Sunday and was married two weeks later.
“I was 25 when I left the army, and I knew that if I wanted to advance I needed a college education. I already had a technician’s diploma, but I wanted to be an engineer. I was ready for very difficult times - supporting a family and paying tuition. I knew that my undergraduate degree might take much longer than four years.”
What Eran didn’t know was that the Atidim for Industry and the Business Sector program, run in conjunction with the Jewish Agency, would turn his life around. Eran, who was born and raised in the southern development town of Ofakim, had heard that Atidim assisted students from the periphery to get a college education. But he had no idea just to what extent this was true. “Not only did I receive full tuition so I was able to concentrate on my studies, living expenses and a laptop computer, but I was adopted by one of Israel’s leading telecom companies, where I intern once a week. I also have a mentor from the company who has been terrific.”
Eran believes that the most difficult hurdle for college graduates is gaining real job experience. And many companies don’t want to hire people if they don’t have experience. “Atidim completely solves this problem. We integrate into the work force while in college, and this gives us a head start when we graduate. Plus, many of the companies hire the Atidim interns. It is a win-win situation.”
In addition to his ambition, Eran has always been socially conscious. He was responsible for community activism during his Air Force service, and volunteered with special needs children. He was also a member of the Jewish Agency’s Partnership 2000 Student Leaders program. Eran and his wife, a Jewish Agency Youth Futures coordinator, are the proud parents of their first child, Arbel.
Together with the the Jewish Agency, Eran is reaching higher and helping others. “I think Atidim has the right formula for people like me to succeed,” says Eran. “The program is an investment in human potential which comes back to benefit the country big time.”
Please join the Jewish Agency in ensuring that talented young people from lower socio-economic areas are able to receive a higher education, finance their studies and serve in their communities as leaders to further strengthen and develop the potential in these areas. Donate here.
To learn more about Atidim and other students like Eran, who are all leading the way toward a better tomorrow, click here.