Awards for World ORT students making the world a better place

From developing apps to botanical and nutritional research, World ORT students are increasingly turning to science and technology to make the world a better place.

The winning projects in this year’s World ORT Gina Harmatz Award for Social Responsibility show that ORT students are not only adept at 21st century skills they also recognise the importance of traditional values of kindness, generosity and compassion.

It is heartwarming to see such values applied at any time but particularly so in the run-up to Pesach.

Every Pesach the Jewish community begins the Seder by stating ‘All who are hungry come and eat’. This inclusive invitation remains just a good intention unless it is accompanied by action. These students and many others to whom we weren’t able to award prizes, are really bringing that message to life and we hope that they will be seen as role-models by others for their selfless dedication to others.

Daniel Tysman, Head of World ORT’s Education Department

World ORT students contributing to Tikkun Olam

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.

Thor Garcia from ORT Brazil, designed an educational app ( to help youngsters with autism

Thor Garcia from ORT Brazil, designed an educational app ( to help youngsters with autism

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.

Entries from 12 countries

They are among 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.

Alberto Buzali from CIM-ORT Mexico

Alberto Buzali from Mexico, two-time recipient of this award, taking the lead on a recycling project

The Award is named after Gina Harmatz, the late wife of Joseph, a former director general of World ORT. Born in Frankfurt in 1924, she moved to Paris shortly after Hitler’s rise to power but lost most of her family in the Holocaust.

“She was a remarkable woman of warmth and intelligence who exuded strength, willpower and courage. She stood up for what she believed in and was a great defender of human values. It is highly appropriate to have an Award such as this in her name and I think she would have been proud of the students who submitted entries. We are grateful to the Harmatz family for their continued support,” said World ORT Chief Program Officer Vladimir Dribinskiy.

The full list of winners for the Gina Harmatz Award 2016

Argentina: Lara Goldman and Tamara Zvik; Emilia Batista Bucher; Santiago Aranguri, Tobias Carreira, Melisa Chab, Maia Cheb Terrab, Pablo Kvitca, Maria Belen Querlico, Vladimir Pomsztein, Natasha Ritzer, Carolina Rovner and Florencia Simeran.
Brazil: Thor Garcia, Instituto de Tecnologia ORT.
France: Lenaic Louvet, Barbara Dei, Fiona Levy and Lisa Collard, Lycée ORT Léon Bramson, Marseille.
Israel: Noam Shitrit and Noam Eliaz, Shikma High School; Yahel Harazi, Shikma High School; Michael Stashenko and Amit Shlomovitz, Rogozin High School; Sara Faheri, Rodman Junior High School.
Italy: Joelle Bassal, Scuola della Comunita Ebraica, Milan.
Mexico: Alberto Buzali, CIM-ORT; Dalia Grinberg Tobias, CIM-ORT.
Panama: Gabriel Baca Rubinztain, Joel Alon and Nicholas Herbst, Isaac Rabin School.
Russia: Stav Izraev and Rita Galaktionova, Moscow ORT Technology School #1540; Camilla Batyreva, Arina Petrova, Yana Pishkemaher and Igor Burmistrov, ORT Mishpahteinu School, Kazan.

Well done to all who took part!