Abigail Klein Leichman
February 15

Sixty children who have been sheltering in a Jerusalem hotel since being evacuated from Sderot near the Gaza border on October 7 now have a mobile technology lab where they can learn and play, thanks to nonprofit organization Machshava Tova.

Typically focused on providing technology education to underprivileged communities throughout Israel during peacetime, the Jerusalem-based organization is now also delivering temporary educational support to displaced students.

“Machshava Tova” literally means “a good thought” and is also a play on words; machshev means “computer” in Hebrew.

With $45,000 from Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston’s Israel Emergency Fund, Machshava Tova purchased computers, projectors, 3D printers, VR goggles and other equipment for the lab and also provides instructors and online technology courses.

Displaced Israeli kids learn and play in mobile tech lab
Two children from Sderot using computers provided at their Jerusalem hotel by Machshava Tova. Photo courtesy of Machshava Tova

Netanel Levi, manager of the technology lab, said, “Machshava Tova, with the support of CJP, engages our students in an exciting and impressive way. The students eagerly anticipate these activities, during which they experience quality work with computers and technology. Children feel more capable after working in the computer lab with our instructors, and we believe it also helps to make them more resilient during an extremely challenging time.”

After the displaced families are able to return home, the equipment will be donated to the Sderot school system.

Displaced Israeli kids learn and play in mobile tech lab

Established in 2003 by educators and technology professionals headed by Astorre Modena, an Israeli-Italian entrepreneur and managing partner of the Terra Ventures Partners, Machshava Tova aims to bridge social gaps through technology accessibility.

Operating in the social and geographical periphery of Israel, the organization promotes social leadership among various marginalized populations, including children and youth at risk, people with disabilities, those seeking employment, and the elderly. It addresses the unique needs of each population group, including women, new immigrants, the ultra-Orthodox and minority groups.

Displaced Israeli kids learn and play in mobile tech lab
Machshava Tova instructors showing displaced children how to use VR headsets. Photo courtesy of Machshava Tova

For its work in STEM education and digital literacy, Machshava Tova has won several awards, among them the Jerusalem Mayor’s Prize, the exemplary award at the Israel-Sderot Conference for Society and the Ashalim JDC-Israel Prize.

Recently, the United Nations has given Machshava Tova a special advisory status, in light of its experience and activities over the years.

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