Kibbutz Eshbal Educational Center
Kibbutz Eshbal was founded in 1997 in the Galilee as an innovative model of kibbutz whose main "industry" is education. Several years ago, Eshbal opened a boarding school for alienated teenagers, with an emphasis on youngsters from Ethiopian immigrant families, whose absorption into Israel has been beset by socio-cultural and financial hardships. These children have dropped out of normative schools because of educational, emotional and social neglect. They arrive at Eshbal from the very margins of Israeli society, where they have encountered drug and alcohol abuse, crime and delinquency. The kibbutz views this boarding school as a central pillar of their work, and has prepared a 5-year plan to expand its operation.
Eshbal's educational programming aims to provide a corrective experience within a warm and home-like environment. The teenagers enter a 6-month preparatory program that includes catching-up on core subjects, and informal courses to promote self-empowerment and self-development. After this acclimatization period, they join the regional school at nearby Kibbutz Evron, whose staff undergo special training to deal effectively with these new students. During after-school hours at Eshbal, the teenagers continue to receive all-round educational, emotional and social support. They are also involved in volunteering in the community, which builds self-confidence, commitment to society and social awareness. Each group of around 18 teenagers is cared for by a team composed of a teacher (from the school where they study), two counselors and three activity coordinators.
Rashi was involved for several years in an educational enrichment program for the boarding school youth. We continue to support the young, visionary and active community of Eshbal by upgrading the boarding school facilities, in partnership with UJIA Britain .
Until recently, the teenagers in the boarding school were housed in mobile units. We have launched a project to establish a new residential building for the students and a classroom and administration wing. Two existing residential buildings were renovated as well.
When the project was completed in October 2009, we continued the partnership with UJIA to build a house for the educational staff, which was completed during 2011 .