Members of No'ar Oved, the Working and Studying Youth Movement.
(photo credit: NO'AR OVED / THE WORKING AND STUDYING YOUTH MOVEMENT)
The Working and Studying Youth Movement, or No’ar Oved, has established a fund to help young people who cannot afford the group’s extracurricular activities.
Over the past few years more than one million Israelis have taken part in youth movement programs.
While 65 percent more pupils joined youth movements during the last decade, many of those cannot afford the experiences those movements sponsor, such as summer camps and field trips.
In the past three years, the Working and Studying Youth Movement received 35 percent more requests to help members pay for its activities. One of five attendees at an instructional seminar sponsored by the movement this summer needed financial help.
Founders of the new “equality fund” – including members of the group’s alumni – aim to raise enough money so that any youth who wants to attend the movement’s activities can do so. The intention is to help hundreds of thousands of children participate in the movement in coming years, and to echo the movement’s motto, “Our house is open to every youth.”
“Our vision is that every child in Israel will have the right to choose to be educated in the Working and Studying Youth Movement, to experience the charm and due to the movement, grow up to be a responsibility and caring person,” said Eshkar Shahar, the coordinator of the fund and an alumnus of the movement.
As part of the effort, members established a website for donations, where donors – including parents of other children in the group – can donate to those in need.
“Growing up as part of the youth movement is an irreplaceable experience,” Shahar said.
She recalled her fondest memories, from her first field trips without her parents to the feeling of independence after two weeks in an outdoor camp.
“We believe that membership in youth movements is a fundamental right that every person deserves, no matter their financial capabilities,” she said.