For the fourth year in a row, students, staff and alumni of the WIZO Nir Ha'Emek Youth Village, stood up against the apathy surrounding the issues of poverty and hunger in Israel with their Day Without Hunger campaign.
According to the National Insurance Institute's annual Poverty Report, 18.6% of the families in Israel, a total of 432,600 families, live below the poverty line. Those families include 757,000 children, which is 30% of the children in Israel. In other words, one out of every three Israeli children suffers from the effects of hunger and malnutrition.
Under the slogan, "One in three kids is hungry", the students of WIZO Nir Ha'Emek launched a large scale project aimed at raising awareness to the startling numbers associated with poverty in Israel. In a broad gesture of goodwill, dozens of local restaurants, pizzerias, kiosks and cafés in Afula and Migdal Ha'Emek agreed to join the student's campaign and sell food at the minimal cost of 2 NIS (57 cents) between the hours of 4-6pm on Wednesday, February7th, The Day Without Hunger. Every eatery that took part in the project received a framed certificate of appreciation. In addition, the Nir Ha'Emek student council sold hot dogs in buns for 2 NIS. Meanwhile, representatives from Nir Ha'Emek and the student council set up booths in Afula's main square and, accompanied by lively music, distributed flyers to passerbys about the campaign.
WIZO Nir HaEmek students & IDF soldiers place hot dogs in buns to be sold for 2 NIS on the Day Without Hunger.
"This is the fourth straight year that our entire school has joined together to take part in the Day Without Hunger project," Chen Roditi, head of the WIZO Nir Ha'Emek student council, said. "It has become part of our yearly routine here at Nir Ha'emek. We are already well trained at going out and enlisting local businesses and recruiting as many students as possible for the benefit of this very important cause. As teenagers, this is the least we can do to raise awareness of the difficult situation in which one in three children in Israel is a hungry child."
"This initiative comes entirely from the students of our village and our staff has mobilized in order to implement it," Esti Cohen, Director of the WIZO Nir Ha'Emek Youth Village, said. "This is the fourth year in a row that we are undertaking this effort and it has grown each year with more students and local eateries taking part. We are full of pride that our students can feel compassion, help a friend, be socially involved and express their opinions on this important cause."
Crowds of students flock to one of the local eateries seliing food for just 2 NIS on the Day Without Hunger.
The Day Without Hunger also included classroom discussions and panels about poverty in Israel. Representatives of the student council entered classrooms and held an hour long discussion on the subject of social gaps. In addition, on Sunday the school hosted a panel tackling the hard questions about social gaps which included MK Mickey Levy and social activists from Afula, Aliza Yosef and Noga Sharon.
We are so proud of our students who are educated to be involved citizens and contribute to the community, World WIZO Chairperson Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, who visited the school and spoke to the students together with World WIZO CEO Igal Dekel, said. "Today's youth are the politicians, the economists and the spirit of tomorrow, and their social involvement is so important for building a more just and egalitarian society."
Located in the Jezreel Valley near Afula, the WIZO Nir Ha'Emek Youth Village has more than 1000 students from grades 7 through 12. WIZO Nir Ha'Emek is one of the largest schools in the north and is considered to be a leading school in agricultural studies. In the village there is a farm with a barn, a dairy, a chicken coop, therapeutic horse stables, an ecological garden and more. In addition, the school specializes in teaching science and technology. The WIZO Nir Ha'Emek Youth Village, which is under the supervision of the Director of Rural Education, is also supported by the WIZO federations of Argentina and the USA.