Children performing dramatic arts at a YESODOT SUMMER CAMP.
April 15, 2010 / 1 Iyar 5770
Summer is just around the corner. And for Ethiopian immigrants, summertime is a crucial time to continue to learn new skills to become acclimated to Israeli life, culture and society – particularly for the children.
Enter YESODOT SUMMER CAMPS for Ethiopian children. For the 2,000 children (ages 4-18) living in the 17 Jewish Agency absorption centers for Ethiopian immigrants throughout the country, summer is one long stretch of unstructured time. Since parents do not have the financial means to send their children to camp outside the centers or to take family vacations, the opportunity to send their children to on-site camps where they are safe, have fun, and learn Hebrew and valuable skills are essential.
"Summer is an important time for new olim from Ethiopia," said Hana Dobkin, Director of Educational and Cultural Activities for Jewish Agency Ethiopian Absorption Centers. "Over the summer children are catching up to their classmates in school. Learning Hebrew, in particular, is a big challenge. We help them learn these skills in a way that is entertaining. For example, children can learn how to count while playing sports. They learn Hebrew because the counselors speak to them in Hebrew. At the end of the day, we are helping them bridge that gap to become fully acclimated. You would be surprised by how much of a difference one summer can make."
Zalka Mula is living proof of the power of YESODOT SUMMER CAMPS. Last August, the 16-year-old boy from Ethiopia who was living at the "Tapuz" Absorption Center in Naharia had learned Hebrew so fluently that after only two years in the country he was able to write a hand-written thank-you note to his summer camp counselors in Hebrew.
Staying cool. Children playing in a pool at a
YESODOT SUMMER CAMP.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart," wrote Zalka. Of the skills he learned at summer camp, he listed "how to be considerate and the value of solidarity." Specific favorites were a "refreshing" daytrip to Tel Aviv, English, computer skills, and mathematics.
"All of these activities have given us the potential to advance, to succeed in life and to gain much knowledge," he wrote. "Soon we are approaching the start of the school year, and I can say with certainty that because of the educational programs we learned over the summer, we are truly prepared. We can roll up our shirtsleeves and get right to business."
Since its inception in 2000, YESODOT has helped 30,000 immigrant children and youth in absorption centers. And since January 2010, approximately 1,000 new immigrants have settled in Israel – over 50% children.
We need your help. Support YESODOT SUMMER 2010. Your support will allow Ethiopian children to participate in a summer camp at their absorption center. Donate here. Please Note: In the program selection please select "other" and write in YESODOT as the area of activity.