Towards an Equal World: Eyal Edry, Moshe Edree, and Rafi Edry’s Endeavor to Uplift Israel’s Social Fabric

When Eyal Edry was 17, his family ran into serious financial trouble. His father’s earnings as a building contractor weren’t enough to make ends meet. It forced him to give up academics, and start working to support the family.

That happened in the 1970s when initiatives to support underprivileged children were scarce. But Eyal Edry’s learnings as a fragile teenager, compelled to quit school because of socioeconomic circumstances, never left his mind. He knows what it’s like for children who fail to break the glass ceiling due to a lack of proper guidance and financial resources.

And that’s what prompted him to establish the “Ahinoam Association for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities” with his brothers, Moshe Edree and Rafi Edry. Through various social initiatives and programs, the organization strives to nurture underprivileged children and at-risk youth living in Israel’s social and geographical periphery.

Israel’s Periphery: The Real Picture

In recent years, Israel has emerged as a pioneer of technological innovation. The country’s socioeconomic center is filled to the brim with tech startups and other businesses. It’s the quintessential image of the modern and developed world.

But there’s a huge section of the Israeli population living outside the famed center. For families in the Israeli periphery, survival is a war. They have to fight for basic resources, such as food, shelter, and education.

Many children in Israel’s periphery don’t understand the value of education until it’s too late. Even the ones who want to go to school are often forced to work to support their families.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Israeli education sector has further exposed the widening gap between life in the periphery and center. According to a recent survey, a whopping one-third of students in Israel’s periphery lack internet access. 36% of children don’t even have a cell phone.

In comparison, only 3.6% of students in the country’s center don’t have an internet connection.

These figures highlight the need for the government and welfare agencies to step up, and work for the upliftment of the youth. Otherwise, a day will come when the country will have to deal with an entire generation of aimless and disillusioned youngsters.

The Association’s Initiatives

Named after Eyal Edry, Refael Edry, and Moshe Edree’s father, the Ahinoam Association envisions a future where students in the periphery are at par with the rest of Israel. So, when pandemic-driven nationwide lockdowns forced students to study at home, the association launched a fundraising campaign.

The idea was to provide computers to students in the periphery so that they could attend online classes. The initiative helped distribute 30,000 computers to children within the first few days. Over several months, Eyal Edry and his brothers have helped thousands of students in the periphery continue their education.

Apart from the fundraising initiative, the Ahinoam Association has implemented various programs for the benefit of students and at-risk youth.

Long-Term Mentoring

The mentoring program focuses on identifying at-risk youth from the periphery and providing them with the right care and guidance. The organization connects with them to create a tailor-made work plan and helps them realize their potential. Students are handheld throughout their journey from high school to graduation, and eventual integration into the job market.

Financial Help

The Ahinoam Association provides scholarships for students from underprivileged families. Their vision is to ensure that no child is forced to quit school due to a lack of financial resources.

Development of the Periphery

The organization heavily invests in the development of infrastructure and amenities in the periphery. They’ve launched various projects in Safed, the hometown of Moshe Edree and his older brothers. These projects have helped establish a library in the city’s elementary school.  Their vision is to expand such activities to other locations in the periphery.

Support for Ethiopian Communities

Apart from the Israeli youth, the Ahinoam Association also works with youngsters from Ethiopian communities to help them find their footing in Israeli society. The initiative guides them from the young age of 16 and helps them develop the right skills to prepare for the army.

Preserving Israel’s Social Resilience

Both Eyal and Refael Edry believe that geopolitical tensions aren’t the biggest threat to Israel. Instead, it’s the improper handling of the younger generation that could potentially disintegrate the country’s social fabric. They envision a future where children across all socioeconomic backgrounds have access to the same educational and employment opportunities.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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