• mtova11Project aims to teach students from low socio-economic background and prepare them for entry into IDF’s Technology Units

    Recently, many tenth graders came to the Kiryat Menachem Computer Center to learn about and be tested for entry into the Arava Project (see below for full description of project). Machshava Tova’s (www.mtova.org.il) partners – the neighborhood welfare administration, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) technological units and Mercaz Braira – sent representatives to meet the prospective participants. The teenagers came from neighborhoods all over Jerusalem, including Givat Zeev, Neve Yaakov, Gilo, Kiryat Menachem, Kiryat Yovel and many more.

    The day began with a talk from each of the partners to describe the project and what the anticipated outcome will hopefully be. A test in technical logic was then administered to everyone- prior knowledge of computers was not a prerequisite to enter the program. Finally, each prospective participant was interviewed by a member of each program partner. At the end of the day, 21 students were chosen and the program will be starting in May.

    Much thanks to Pnina Samucha, Kiryat Menachem Director, for her tireless efforts in contacting schools, meeting principals and teachers and marketing the course all over Jerusalem. The fact that so many teenagers showed up and the course is full is a testament to her outstanding efforts. In addition, thanks to

    ■ Edna Darnel for connecting Machshava Tova with the Jerusalem Municipality and various high schools

    ■ Hagar Ronen who represented Mercaz Braira

    ■ Omri Avned who is in charge of instruction

    ■ Bar Inbar, IDF Officer in charge of programming courses for Basmach (IDF Technological Unit)

    ■ Volunteer university students who will participate in teaching the course- some of whom served in Basmach

    ■ Amit, an IDF soldier who volunteers at our computer center

    ■ Tamar Weil, who is serving her year of national service at our computer centers

    The Mamram/Basmach is the technological unit of the IDF, which specializes in using computers to help soldiers in the field and to gather intelligence. Knowledge of basic computer skills is a major component of one’s potential acceptance into this unit. Children from low socio-economic backgrounds are woefully under-represented in this unit because their financial situation does not allow them access to a computer in the home and this prevents many of them from even applying to this unit.

    Machshava Tova has constructed the Arava program to increase the chances of teenagers from low socio-economic backgrounds being accepted to this unit. The program will take place during grade eleven. Those accepted into the program will meet once a week for two hours. The program includes:

    ► learning advanced computer skills

    ► preparation for the battery of tests teenagers face when first enlisting in the IDF as a pre-requisite for entrance into the Mamram unit

    ► visiting the army’s Mamram unit, hi-tech companies and hearing from hi-tech executives

    There are four main objectives which this program hopes to accomplish:

    1) Motivate these students to work harder at school as a way of bettering their future.

    2) Opening to these students a whole new set of possibilities they never knew existed.

    3) Ending a life of poverty for these students. Graduates of the Mamram unit are highly recruited by hi-tech companies, where starting salaries are far above the average Israeli salary.

    4) By showing them the light at the end of the tunnel- possible full time employment after army service- it is possible to raise their self-esteem and allow them to realize their full potential.

    By providing access to computers, giving students a chance to acquire the skills needed to enter the Mamram unit, Machshava Tova can empower them to seek a better future.

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