A group of Mexican students have used the design and technology skills they learnt at their ORT school to create a prosthetic arm for an underprivileged six-year-old boy.
The team from Colegio Israelita de México ORT (CIM-ORT) was moved to help the child after learning that he had lost his hand while playing with fireworks. They also created a personalised prosthesis for a 16-year-old with Down’s Syndrome.
The Mexican students’ efforts earned them the top prize in this year’s World ORT Gina and Joseph Harmatz Award for Social Responsibility, which is given to students who have distinguished themselves in their conduct towards others.
ORT is a global education network driven by Jewish values. It transforms lives through education and reaches 300,000 people in more than 30 countries every year. ORT combines high-level science and technology education with strengthened Jewish identity, bridging the gap between ability and opportunity.
The competition – open to ORT students globally of any age – recognizes excellence in projects that have made an outstanding contribution to Tikkun Olam – our shared responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world.
The CIM-ORT entry used multiple design programs and templates to create specialized prosthetics. It took eight hours to create one of the four parts needed for the prosthesis using a 3D printer at the school.
A team spokesperson said: “We contributed by doing what we felt we were each best at – some designed the prosthetics while others focused on getting the materials we needed or being in touch with the kids and their families.
“This made a huge impact on us. It showed us that the things we learn in school can be used in real life and it felt good to use that knowledge to help other people.
“At the beginning the project seemed too big, but we learned that when it comes to helping others we have no limits – we can really work as a team and we managed to do everything needed to create and deliver the prosthetics to the kids.”
The students met Cristian and Diego after being introduced to the 3D por Mexico foundation, which supports those who have lost a limb.
Team member Michelle said: “Anyone can make an effort to change someone’s life.”
Dan Green, World ORT Director General and CEO, said: “The projects cited in this year’s Harmatz Awards show the very best of the ORT network – students who adapt the skills and techniques taught in their classrooms to create practical solutions and do good.
“For 140 years the ORT network has been driven by Jewish values and our projects around the world promote the concept of Tikkun Olam. We are so proud of all the teams who took part in this competition, which is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the year in so many countries.
“It is really fantastic to think of all these ORT students who – while still at school themselves – are already dedicated to helping others and having a positive impact on the world around them.”
Other winners this year include teams from Russia, Ukraine and Brazil. Teams are rewarded for their initiative and self-motivation, the time committed to the project and the impact of their work.
Projects included a Holocaust memorial initiative, an anti-bullying campaign and an app to support those confronted by gender-based violence and mental health issues.
Prizes in the competition are awarded in memory of the late Gina and Joseph Harmatz, who played pivotal roles in ORT’s history.
Joseph Harmatz was Director General and CEO of World ORT in the 1980s and 1990s. He was a partisan who was regarded as a hero of Lithuania’s resistance movement against the Nazis.
Gina Harmatz escaped Nazi persecution in western Europe in the 1930s and 1940s before settling in Israel. She was renowned for her graciousness and the importance she placed on family relationships and concern for the welfare of others.
ORT is a global education network driven by Jewish values. ORT reaches 300,000 people a year, in more than 30 countries, providing a combination of high-level science and technology education with strengthened Jewish identity to bridge the gap between ability and opportunity – and to ensure the continuity of Jewish life worldwide.
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