Article Student Scholarships in Ashkelon

Article: Student Scholarships program and advisory work
Written by: Lauren Zink, a volunteer in Israel, Nov 17th 2010

Participating in higher education is no easy fete.  When finances get entered into the mix this can make the situation even more difficult.  Student Scholarships is a program to help enable students with financial problems to obtain a degree. 

In order to be a part of this scholarship program each student has to volunteer three hours a week of community work.  This is a perfect example of “If you give, you shall receive.”

This place goes beyond just simply handing out scholarships and loans to these academic students. Nisim Ben David is a major reason for this.  He is the manager of higher education program and is the one that not only gives out the scholarships, but he councils the students on what subjects to pick in University.

If a student wants to learn engineering but are not properly qualified, he gets them into a special project to advance.  He forms relationships with these young adults, he is not only their councilor but he is their friend.  In this light they can then feel comfortable talking to him.  Nisim Ben David helps make these students dreams come true. 

He exceeds in doing this by also having a page on the most popular website for students – Facebook.  All day Nisim Ben David is on the site, chatting with students and answering any questions they may have for them.

Many of these people live either alone or were raised in one parent families.  Some are new immigrants and simply have no direction and no money to begin to make a life for themselves here in Israel.

One special story is of a student who was living in a women’s shelter and was being beaten up every day.  She thought she had no way of getting out and helping to support her children who lived there with her.  But with the help of Nisim Ben David she is now studying sociology in University.  The social department is financing her children and her life is turning in an incredible new direction.

Each year between 600–700 students in Ashkelon receive scholarships, and many of these children share the same life-changing stories as the student who was living in the women’s shelter. 

In order to be accepted into University students need to pass an exam that is similar to that of the SAT’s.  It is no easy fete, but Nisim Ben David helps them succeed.  Beyond just receiving scholarships these young adults can take a course that ranges in price between 5,000 – 6,000 NIS.  Students are offered a subsidized scholarship for it and so far, 100 students have completed this course.

What is most evident here is the ‘give and receive’ notion.  If a student receives a scholarship, they give back by participating in volunteer work.  If they learn in a course, they give back by then teaching that course.  There are still so many more students who are in need of scholarships and other academic help and guidance, but simply just not enough finances to give away.  Maybe after reading this you can be a part of the trend and give back to these students.