ORT works with the Ronald S Lauder Foundation and the Bulgarian authorities in running the Lauder-ORT No. 134 “Dimcho Debelianov” Jewish School in Sofia. ORT’s support, including the building of several science laboratories, has enabled the school to run advanced ICT-based curricula as well as extra-curricular activities in Jewish subjects and in ICT. The school has won several awards from organisations including NEC and Microsoft.
The school’s state-of-the-art media centre has fully equipped studio and production facilities which enable partnerships with national television stations and the Nu Boyana Film Studio. It has also proved itself the ideal base for World ORT’s annual Digital Skills Academy.
It is a far cry from the 1930s when ORT’s original activities in the country comprised small-scale vocational activities in woodwork, bookbinding, tailoring and textiles. ORT programmes were forced to close in 1940 but resumed post-war, training one-fifth of the remaining Jewish community before closing down again. The Sofia school relocated to Jaffa, Israel to serve the 40,000 Bulgarian Jews who had made aliyah.
A lego lab? It became reality in Bulgeria thanks to the generosity of Charles and Alice Kurland and ORT America.
Watch how this dream came true.