Igal Cohanim and the class of 2016

The Neot Shaked neighborhood of Netanya is comprised of mostly immigrant families from Russia and Ethiopia, and pensioners who have limited resources and opportunities to advance economically and technologically without outside assistance. Many of the children in Neot Shaked, for example, don’t have a single computer in their home and experience inequality on many levels that other children in Israel never experience.

While there is a city program in place to try and give each child a computer, there really aren’t enough funds to go around to accomplish this goal. Thankfully, at the Neot Shaked Community Center in Netanya, there is a special project for these children that introduces them to computers and teaches them how to understand and operate them.

The program was established in 1998 by the English speaking organization, ESRA. With help from donations and contributions, ESRA was able to create a classroom with 12 computers and all the necessary hardware and infrastructure to conduct the class. However, ESRA did not stop there. In addition to establishing the classroom, ESRA is also actively involved in the operation, financing, and maintenance of all these computers and their hardware. Without their assistance, this classroom for underprivileged children would not exist.

The classes are divided according to age and are taught by myself (from AIC Computers in Raanana). The demand for the class is growing and usually a few children need to share one computer.

Next year we expect to have more students. We are planning to have three different youth classes and a class for adults, so they can learn basic computer use; most of the students have never used a computer. Needless to say, this will be a challenge for me and our community, but it’s one I am looking forward to. The classes will cover basic computer instruction, surfing the Internet, Word, Paint, Power Point, games that develop coordination, YouTube and more.

This is not just a classroom; it’s a fun way to learn the basics of computer use and make friends at the same time. Perhaps this is why so many students are interested in joining and why the number of students keeps growing.

And once again, congratulations to ESRA and all the donors for making all of this possible.

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