JEWISH NATIONAL FUND RESPONDS TO TRAGEDY OF NEPAL EARTHQUAKE

160 Students at Israel’s AICAT Lose Homes, Family Members JNF Assists with Emergency Allocations for Students to Rebuild Homes & Lives

At a somber event today at Israel’s Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT), Jewish National Fund (JNF) President Jeffrey E. Levine pledged JNF’s assistance to 160 Nepalese students –- some who lost family members, all who lost their homes -- following the devastating earthquake.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Nepal and these students are our extended family. That’s why I am today releasing emergency funds so that each one will get $500 to send back home and assist in rebuilding their family homes and lives,” remarked Levine. “When you look into their eyes, you can see that they have lost everything. The $500 may not seem like much to us, but it means the world to them,” he added.

The 160 students at AICAT, a JNF partner, are part of a student population of 1,200 who are studying farming, sustainable growing practices and water technology for one year in the desert town of Sapir in the Central Arava, some 80 miles south of Tel Aviv.

Founded in 1994 as a joint venture between the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Central Arava Regional Council, AICAT trains agricultural students from developing countries, namely the Far East and Africa, so that students can take the information and skills they have learned back to their own towns and villages to use and share. This year’s students, who arrived for the 10 month professional work and study program in August 2014 and will graduate in June, hail from Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Indonesia (the largest Muslim populated country in the world with no formal relations with Israel).

“Our students always go home with the skills to create better lives,” continued Levine. “Now they need to start from scratch and we’re helping them do that.”

IsraAID has pledged emergency relief services to Nepal where a 7.9 magnitude earthquake occurred April 25 and devastated Nepal, and its capital Kathmandu. A metropolis of over 2.5 million people, the Kathmandu Valley is the most earthquake vulnerable city in the world, with construction often very poor and infrastructure nearly non-existent. IsrAID will deploy its emergency relief team to provide food, water, relief items, medical services, and psycho-social services to devastated communities within the Kathmandu Valley and outside. The immediate concerns are basic supplies, shelter, and medical services for the injured. To donate towards IsrAID’s relief effort click here: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-relief-for-earthquake-struck-nepal/

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