Speaker: Tzlil Maimon at the mike
Student Tzlil Maimon is part of ESRA’s ‘Students Build a Community’ project. This is the address she gave before the start of the Dudu Fisher-Colin Schachat event
My name is Tzlil Maimon, I am 24 years old and I am a law student at Tel Aviv University. This is my second year of volunteering for ESRA and I am glad I got the chance to do it.
Albert Einstein said: “The best way to educate people is to be a good example for them.” This is the soul of the program in every aspect. Every student gets to be a mentor for four kids in the most difficult neighborhoods in Netanya. As a student you can be the only light in their life and that's a big responsibility because you have to be a good personal example to those kids.
I want to tell you a little bit about my point of view on this project: I was raised in the neighborhood in which I am teaching the kids. When you grow up in a neighborhood like this, all you want to do is to get out of there, but most times it is almost impossible to do so. You always have to fight for your basic rights and it's hard for you as a child to focus on your studies.
I went through many difficulties and I had no one to give me guidance. All I wanted to do is to finish my studies so one day I will be able to study at the university. I know it is a long shot, but I believed it is possible because I had found this one person in my life who believed in me and always told me I can do everything.
Almost 14 years later I fulfilled my dream and started my studies, but then again I needed a safety net, a quiet place to live and study. Again, lucky me, I found out about this program. I cannot describe how wonderful it felt - not only that I had a place to live during my studies, but I also got a chance to give back.
My kids - that’s how we call our pupils, make me proud every single time I meet them. They are my inspiration. They are struggling to study even though they have to deal with so many difficulties in their young lives.
In our last lesson we talked about what they want to do with their lives and about what they want to be when they grow up. I was the first person who had ever asked them this question.
For them it's all about surviving now. For them it looks so far away. So they thought about it. One of them said that she wants to be a policewoman - and we discussed the effort she will have to make in order to become one. Another one said she wants to become an actress, so she will have to improve her English in order to be able to understand future texts. One of them, just like "past me", just wanted to study in the university.
This is what we do in this project - we change their lives. Just by being there, just by trying, just by asking them to dream about the future we can change their whole life, because if they would only dare to ask for a better future they will have the power to chase their goals and get them.
I don’t know if Bat El will become a cop or if Shoshi will be an actress, but I am sure that because of this program they will use their everyday bravery in order to achieve it.
Thank you all for supporting this program.