Gina and Joseph Harmatz Awards for ‘Tikkun Olam’ (Social Responsibility)

The World ORT Gina and Joseph Harmatz Award for Social Responsibility is an annual recurring award given to students in the ORT network who have distinguished themselves in their conduct towards their fellow human beings. Those who have demonstrated neighbourly love, who have behaved with dignity and decency – all of which reflect Gina and Joseph Harmatz’s characters.

The award will recognise excellence for projects that have made an outstanding contribution to Tikkun Olam – our shared responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world.

This could be through helping the needy, volunteering, a commitment to fostering the values of compassion and dignity and generally contributing morally to the good of humanity.

Examples of previous winning projects include:

Introducing bio diesel to school busses – A project collecting used cooking oil from the local community and restaurants and converting it into bio diesel to fuel the local school bus.

Teaching computer skills to dyslexic children at school – A project to enhance the IT skills of dyslexic schoolchildren; adopting strategies to improve their confidence and concentration in IT lessons.

Caring for elderly people in the local community – A project to distribute food to the elderly and spend time with them to alleviate social isolation and make them feel connected.

World ORT Gina and Joseph Harmatz Award For Social Responsibility 2015/16

Among the winners are ORT Brazil student Thor Garcia, who designed an educational app to help young people with autism, and ORT Italy’s Joelle Bassal, who was inspired by her wheelchair bound mother to develop an app which helps people find restaurants and bars with good wheelchair access.

A group of 10 ORT Argentina students won recognition for their design of an app, SmarTACC, which helps people with coeliac disease find local eateries serving gluten free food and fellow Argentinean Emilia Batista Bucher impressed judges with a nutritional awareness project. Emilia’s project focuses on researching and developing ways of producing spirulina, an edible alga, and educating children in rural areas about its benefits.

There were dozens of World ORT students in Israel, Brazil, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Italy and France who submitted videos, photos and written reports explaining their philanthropic work to a World ORT panel.

The judges this year awarded three exceptional prizes for outstanding work from students at Moscow ORT Technology School #1540, CIM-ORT in Mexico City, and Isaac Rabin School in Panama. And Alberto Buzali from CIM-ORT became the first student to win a prize two years in a row.

More details here