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Over 38,000 African migrants – refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants – live in Israel. The vast majority of them, from Sudan and Eritrea, fled to Israel from countries rife with human rights abuses and ethnic cleansing. Many entered Israel illegally, and most of them have no defined status.

It is common for these families live in the most basic survival conditions, forcing parents to work long hours with no framework for their children.  The ad hoc solution has been “pirate” centers operated by members of the community, in which children are often neglected and provided with minimal stimulation.

The Society for Advancement of Education has responded to this education crisis by opening Learning Centers for Children from the African Community (Asylum Seekers and Economic Migrants) in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The goal of the Learning Centers is to give the children a secure, protected, positive environment after school hours, which will support the necessary learning processes for their age group, assist in closing the gaps, and assess learning and emotional difficulties as needed. This includes:

  • Reinforcement of core subjects – English, Mathematics and Hebrew
  • Imparting learning skills and strategies
  • Homework assistance
  • Social activities that support learning processes
  • Ongoing contact with the school

In order to improve the situation of children in Tel Aviv’s foreign community (largely, but not exclusively, African), SAE, along with Mesila – the Tel Aviv Municipality’s Center for Counseling, Support and Information for the Foreign Community – established an after-school learning center in south Tel Aviv for them.

The center, which is now in its second year, accommodates 15 children in fourth through sixth grade, offering them a constructive framework in which they build basic literacy skills, critical thinking and initiative, and where they receive a hot meal, which they often do not get at home.

A similar center has recently opened in Jerusalem, as a collaboration between SAE, the Municipality of Jerusalem, and the Jerusalem African Community Center (JACC). The center is located in the JACC building in downtown Jerusalem, and operates three days a week from 2:00-6:00 pm, serving 15-17 children from a variety of schools.  The children also receive a hot meal at this center, contributed by the Jerusalem Foundation.

To support the Learning Centers for Children from the African Community, donate here.