When the novel coronavirus forced educational institutions to suspend regular classes, the Israeli government quickly issued orders to adopt online learning tools. Both students and teachers grappled to deal with the abrupt transition.
But the biggest struggle was faced by more than 400,000 students in Israel who didn’t have access to personal computers.
While government authorities advertised numerous benefits of e-learning, they neglected the plight of children in the Israeli periphery. With no access to computers or the internet, these students had no choice but to abandon their dreams of building a better life through education.
That’s when Eyal Edry, Moshe Edree, and Refael aka Rafi Edry stepped into the picture. Through their organization – the Ahinoam Association for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities – the three brothers launched a fundraising campaign.
Their goal was to provide computers to children in low-income families. The organization urged the public to support the initiative by donating money, as well as used computers. The campaign helped more than 30,000 students attend online classes and continue their education.
That’s a tiny glimpse of the broad spectrum of development initiatives undertaken by Eyal Edry, Moshe Edree, and Refael Edry. They work round-the-clock to nurture and support the youth in Israel and help them find their place in society.
So, what can we, as a community, learn from the undying efforts of the Ahinoam Association and its founders? Let’s find out.
The Willingness to Give Back
When Eyal Edry and his brother established the Ahinoam Association, they were already successful entrepreneurs with several companies in Africa. Given their professional accomplishments, what prompted the Edry brothers to turn to social work?
The answer to that question lies in their humble beginnings. Born and raised in Safed, Eyal Edry’s life took a drastic turn when he was 17-years-old. His family was under extreme financial distress, and there were too many mouths to feed.
He had to start working to earn money and support his family. That meant giving up his dreams of pursuing higher education and getting a respectable job.
The agony of being deprived of equal opportunities still haunts Eyal Edry and his brothers. And that’s what drives them to contribute to the community with their youth development initiatives.
Their journey shows that no matter how far you’ve come, you must remember the hardships and roadblocks you’ve faced along the way. It’s just as important to inculcate the qualities of compassion and empathy. That, in turn, will motivate you to help those in need.
An Eye for the Right Problems
What sets Eyal Edry, Moshe Edree, and Refael Edry’s initiatives apart is that they’ve identified the most pressing problems of the Israeli youth. They understand that a lack of resources and opportunities often forces children in the Israeli periphery to lose their hope in education.
Also, they’ve realized that even when students want to pursue higher education, they can’t assimilate the required funds. They’ve delved deeper into the social disparities between the country’s periphery and socioeconomic center.
Having a deep insight into society’s problems has helped the Ahinoam Association develop relevant welfare initiatives. From long-term mentoring and peripheral development to scholarship programs – these initiatives address the core problems in the Israeli periphery.
As a community, it’s up to us to keep an eye out for the most important problems in society. It’s equally important to invest resources to alleviate these problems.
Developing a ‘Do It Yourself’ Attitude
The biggest learning from the Ahinoam Association’s fundraising campaign is that you can make an impact without any support from those in power.
When schools and colleges started conducting online classes, Eyal Edry approached the Israeli government to seek help. But his requests fizzled out in the bureaucratic cogwheel.
What’s worth noting is that Eyal Edry and his brothers didn’t wait for the authorities to act. Instead, they took charge of the situation and harnessed the collective power of ordinary people.
That’s the kind of proactive attitude we need in today’s society. Government inaction and neglect will never cease to exist. But that shouldn’t be an excuse for us to not act.
While those in power will continue to fail ordinary people, it’s up to individuals to step forward and support each other, as well as the community. That can only be achieved through a proactive and persistent attitude.
Eyal Edry, Moshe Edree, and Refael Edry have shown the world that change is possible through determination, courage, compassion, and resilience. Those are the qualities that every individual must inculcate to succeed in life and give back to their communities.