Education Minister Shai Piron instructed his staff to allocate NIS 1.6 million to Project “ReLod,” operated by the National Student Union in Lod, it was announced on Monday.
“ReLod” is a social project in which some 150 students, Jews and Arabs, secular and religious, made the decision to move to Lod in order to attract more young people and thus strengthen the city.
Through the project, students, in cooperation with the Lod municipality, undertake a number of diverse activities to improve and develop the face of the city.
Piron announced the decision to add additional funding to the project during a recent visit to Lod. The education minister was “very impressed” with the students’ social values and activities in the city. Prior to his visit, the Education Ministry allocated a budget of NIS 400,000 to the project. The new funds will allow for the absorption of dozens of new students to join the project already during the current academic year.
“The strengthening of the city of Lod is a national mission and must be encouraged and supported as much as possible, through social activity in the city. I am proud of the students who work tirelessly on this subject. Their enlistment toward this important goal is a model for Israeli society and is a source of inspiration for the children of the city of Lod and student communities operating in other cities,” said Piron.
Furthermore, in light of the success of the project, the education minister announced his office will support the establishment of additional student community projects in other cities, in cooperation with the National Student Union.
Student Union chairman Uri Reshtik said: “Students in Lod are proof that the young generation is not apathetic to society. For these youth, Zionism means to settle in cities in the periphery and contribute to their development through social involvement and active citizenship. We thank the education minister and his staff for their support of the students, and we will continue to work together to promote the establishment of additional student communities on the way to the creation of a model society in Israel.”
According to the National Student Union website, today, over 200 students reside in the city of Lod. More than 120 reside within the “making a neighborhood” model, whereby students live in rented apartments scattered throughout the city, with some 20-25 students living and volunteering in each neighborhood.
There are seven different student communities throughout the city.
Each student participating in the program receives a scholarship of up to NIS 10,000 per year and rent totaling NIS 500 per month. In return, the student has to commit to at least two years in the program as well as participation in events, including three hours per week for a group night, five hours a week for social activities in the city, 50 hours over the course of the year towards different municipal projects and participation in two seminars.
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