Source: eJewish Phlanthropy
The Avi Chai Foundation has allocated a sizeable grant to Or Avner, the educational umbrella organization which, among many other projects, oversees Jewish children’s summer camps in Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union. Thanks to this funding, educational projects threatened with closure due to the global financial crisis were literally saved. As in previous years, more than 2,000 children will benefit from overnight Jewish camps this summer.
The Avi Chai Foundation has been active in the FSU since 2000. It has been providing support for Jewish schools in the former Soviet Union for seven years now, including schools of the Or Avner educational network. The Foundation has been helping Or Avner involve local youth, in a structured, year-round, learning experience, providing both pedagogical and Jewish knowledge, so that local Jewish youth would be equipped with the skills they need to head summer camps and other youth activities throughout the year. As a result of two years of running this program, now, the vast majority of counselors serving in Jewish children’s camps in the FSU today are local youth.
However, this past year, due to financial cutbacks, summer camps and many other Jewish educational projects in the FSU have been threatened with closure. The Avi Chai administration took a decision to help provide funds for room and board for young people to enable them to participate in the rich Jewish camp experience. The difficult economic situation brought them to veer from their funding principle of providing funding for Jewish educational programming exclusively in order to allow over 2000 Jewish children to participate in Or Avner overnight camps during this summer.