Keren Shemesh, The Beit Shemesh Foundation has set a goal to break the cycle of poverty which plagues our city. Unfortunately, we are now seeing the beginning of the fourth generation of poverty in our community; poverty is the major challenge which Beit Shemesh has been dealing with over the past 50 years. We feel that the only way to break the cycle of poverty is through accessible and equal educational opportunities for all children in our community.
Israel is perceived the world over as an advanced, developed, high-tech, “start-up nation,” so why are we talking about equal educational opportunities for all and why do we still experience serious issues of poverty?
As the country has developed, significant gaps appeared in the educational fabric of our society. In the same class you can find the children who “have” and those who “have not”. Elementary and secondary school education in Israel is not free. Tuition and school fees are paid for books, school supplies, note books, school trips, art supplies and music lessons. In many developed countries these are included in the curriculum and are not required “optional” subjects. For many families in economic difficulties due to low paying jobs, lack of skills, new immigrant families from under-developed countries, single parent families; this becomes a significant burden, especially for families blessed with more than one child.
Many families find it difficult to cover the cost of education which can reach over $1000 a year per child. Even established middle class families can find it a burden to annually pay these school fees for 2, 3 or even 4 children in the education system.
As a result of these policies, significant gaps have developed in the same schools and classrooms between the “haves” and the ”have not’s” – children from single parent homes, families with substance abuse challenges and new immigrant families. Some families are forced to choose between paying school fees, paying bills or buying food. Families who cannot pay full school fees find their children excluded from school trips, enrichment programs, and music and art classes. This institutionalized inequality in educational opportunities was the catalyst that pushed Keren Shemesh to launch the “Sponsor a Child” program.
With help from friends of Keren Shemesh throughout the world, since we established our “Sponsor a Child” Program we have been able to:
Provide educational scholarships of $1,000 per year to over 2,000 children from families living at the lowest socio-economic levels and study in 3 elementary schools and 3 high schools in Beit Shemesh. With your help, we will be able to provide these children with equal opportunities and a level playing field.
One “Sponsor a child” scholarship covers:
- All school fees;
- All school books and school supplies;
- Daily hot lunches;
- All extracurricular activities – including music and art;
- Visits to the theater for educational performances;
- A special Birthday gift;
- All school trips;
- 3 weeks in our summer program.
We consider this to be an ongoing project that accompanies and assists the child from first grade up until they graduate High School.
We at Keren Shemesh have no mandate to choose the students who receive a sponsorship. Only the schools have the right to do so. In each school the teaching staff, school management, social workers and educational supervisors are well acquainted with the status of every child and his or her personal family situation and therefore, they are the most qualified to make the final decisions.
For us at Keren Shemesh, this project is an ongoing investment in the future; we strongly feel that education is the best investment in a child’s life. We are investing a lot of resources to receive the best possible results from each child. We feel that a strong education is THE key to a bright future.
To be accepted to the sponsorship program, there are certain conditions that we require from the child and the family:
- The child must show progress in his or her studies, any progress, as long as it is progress is acceptable. They must participate in all School activities – no skipping classes or out of school activities. Any regression or inactivity will cause immediate action.
- Together with the teachers and the principal of the school, we meet with the parents and the child three times a year to receive updates and an overview of progress and to develop a stronger relationship between the school, the child and the parents.
- Parents must participate in all school meetings and be actively involved in their child’s education.
- Every child writes a thank you letter to his or her donor family, and additionally will send 2-3 times a year greeting cards for holidays.
By joining the “Sponsor a Child” program you will make a friend for life and your friend will become a respectable citizen, creative and productive with a better future and with optimistic new horizons.
We prepare at Keren Shemesh profile for every including a photo of your child with the hope of encouraging a meaningful and ongoing relationship between the child and the sponsor that will last for years to come.. You will be able to correspond with your child and send small gifts, greetings cards for holidays and festivals; we will ensure that you receive a reply.
For US $1000 per child, per year you can adopt a child in Beit Shemesh, Israel. We ask donors to commit to cover a minimum of 5 years of elementary or high school education. In special circumstances, it is possible to split sponsorship between two different donors.
You will receive a profile and photo of your child. You will be able to visit the school and meet the children you have supported.
One of these children can be the child you support!
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