“People are not aware that the State of Israel is dealing with something quite amazing,” said Sonia Gomes de Mesquita, Deputy Chair of SASA Setton, a social-educational organization that promotes education for hospitalized children in Israel, in partnership with the Education Ministry.
Gomes de Mesquita participated in a panel discussion with Robert Singer, chairman of SASA Setton and of Alumot Or, at the “Celebrate the Faces of Israel” conference, hosted by The Jerusalem Post Group and the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem. The panel was titled “Educating for an Inclusive Future,” and was moderated by Zvika Klein, Jewish world correspondent for The Jerusalem Post.
Gomes de Mesquita pointed out that 41 Israeli hospitals provide educational programs to hospitalized children, as part of the state’s “free education for sick children” law. Israel is one of the only countries in the world that has such a law, she explained.
What is SASA Setton?
Established in 2009 by the late Philippe and Hilda Setton, SASA Setton provides excellent educational solutions for some 140,000 hospitalized children annually in 41 general, psychiatric, rehabilitative and nursing hospitals throughout Israel. Since its inception 13 years ago, SASA Setton has helped educate more than two million hospitalized children in Israel, assisted by National Service youth.
“Druze, Christian, Arab and Israeli students study together while being treated in the hospital,”Sonia Gomes de Mesquita
The organization, she explained, views hospital schools as a microcosm of Israeli society. Diversity is celebrated, and its educational programming is designed to create bridges between groups. “Druze, Christian, Arab and Israeli students study together while being treated in the hospital,” said Gomes de Mesquita. SASA Setton offers educational programming in Hebrew, English, Arabic, and Ukrainian.
The organization offers educational classes, an interactive website, educational centers, seminars, and individual accompaniment, matched to the child’s hospitalization while extending the school day, in order to avoid gaps in their education during the hospitalization period until the student returns to school in the community.