This past week, ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran opened Israel’s first Integrative Agricultural School, welcoming students from the northern Negev region, providing them with a unique opportunity to learn about farming, agriculture and ecology in an integrative environment, while exposed to and getting to know people with disabilities.
The Integrative Agricultural School will provide opportunities for youth to interact with village residents, simultaneously enhancing the relationship with communities surrounding the rehabilitative village and generating social change in the way in which people without disabilities regard people with disabilities. The new project is a joint project of ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, Tikkun Olam and the Ministry of Education.
As part of the program, area school students meet village students and residents, with and without disabilities and enjoy joint activities throughout the school year. Students come from neighboring townships and, with the assistance of professional staff, proceed to establish avenues of communication, becoming acquainted with residents via the ecological environment, animals and agriculture.
The Integrative Agricultural Farm, established in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran and the Merhavim Regional Council, constitutes a unique opportunity to learn about agricultural science.
In addition to the agricultural center, the farm includes a horse farm, a safari with a wide selection of animals (ranging from parakeets to a huge turtle) and a rehabilitative garden. Presently, the farm produces a range of agricultural products, grown in the field and in the greenhouse. The greenhouse also serves as an educational center for elementary schools and middle schools.
Program curriculum combines theoretical and experiential studies of agriculture, science, technology, healthy living and ecology in the various branches of agriculture in stimulating, active learning. Working for the benefit of the community, the farm includes task-based research and project groups and staff, with emphasis on Jewish holidays and the values of love for people and the land.
Avi Wortzman, CEO ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran: “The village’s Integrative Agricultural School creates an opportunity for the community to be actively involved in accepting people viewed as “other.” The decision to open the Integrative Agricultural School stemmed from a very real need for Israeli students to meet people different than themselves, people with disabilities, and to take an active part in accepting those different than themselves. We are presently in the first week, and can already see special relationships developing between school students and village residents. I laud all those taking part in this program. This is a giant step for Tikkun Olam.”
Lizzy Adani, director of the ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran Agricultural Farm: “After months of preparation and organization, I am excited to open the Integrative Agricultural School – the ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran and Merhavim Regional Council Integrative Agricultural School– for area students.”