Yemin Orde Youth Village Reunites Young Immigrants with Family Members

Located atop Mount Carmel near Haifa, the Yemin Orde Youth Village is celebrating 70 years of acting as a school and home for immigrant and at-risk Israeli youth.
August 25, 2023

Surafil Alamo moved his tassel from right to left. The phrase tikkun olam, or repair the world, played over in his head. He felt prepared to say goodbye to high school and step forward into the next chapter of his life.

The meaning of tikkun olam is instilled in students, like Alamo, at the Yemin Orde Youth Village in Israel. Located atop Mount Carmel near Haifa, and supported by philanthropy ImpactIsrael, the Yemin Orde Youth Village is celebrating 70 years of acting as a school and home for immigrant and at-risk Israeli youth.

At the early age of 12, Alamo made aliyah in 2006 from Ethiopia and found solace at the village. Throughout his time at the village, he was taught resiliency and found passion by helping communities in need.

“At Yemin Orde there were so many people who helped me over time. I was lucky to connect with different staff members over the years. Their warmth and encouragement were an important part of my teenage years,” Alamo said.

The support the students receive does not end at graduation. Yemin Orde awarded Alamo with the necessary scholarships so he could pursue higher education. Alamo completed his BA in political science after graduation from Yemin Orde, and currently is obtaining a master’s degree in political science, both from The University of Haifa.

He is currently interning in the municipality of Kfar Saba, learning about the inner workings of local government. His long-term dream is to work as a government official and find innovative solutions that better support people with disabilities.

“I want to contribute to society and advocate for human rights,” he said.

When not attending lectures, or interning, Alamo fills his schedule by volunteering at various leadership programs in Haifa. At one program he mentors young Ethiopian Israelis, teaching them good study habits and encouraging them to pursue higher education.

“Yemin Orde taught me that true success comes from hard work, and I want to pass that on. I see myself in these students and I want them to succeed. Everyone needs someone to root for them,” he said.

Alamo, like other young immigrants, is orphaned. His mother died when he was young, and his father died when Alamo was completing his military service. The staff at Yemin Orde, who saw Alamo grow into the successful man he is today, noticed how much Alamo missed his family. Afterall, his extended family was still in Ethiopia.

The staff, in the true spirit of tikkun olam, put their minds together and got Yemin Orde to support the expenses of Alamo’s extended family immigrating to Israel. Now, Alamo has both his family, and his Yemin Orde family cheering him on.

Anna Greenboym, also a recent graduate from Yemin Orde, found herself in a similar situation to Alamo.

Greenboym was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine and grew up with her large family of five siblings. In 2014, she left Ukraine on her own and ventured to Israel. Transitioning to Israeli lifestyle was difficult for Greenboym, but Yemin Orde, she said, made her feel grounded.

“I felt lost when I came here, and Yemin Orde gave me a place to call home,” she said.

At the village, Greenboym learned Hebrew and English and became passionate about tech after joining the Integrated Tools Computer and Cyber Program in high school. She built positive relationships and made many friends at Yemin Orde, she said, including her current roommate. They both live together in Herzilya and Greenboym currently works for the tech start-up, Qwilt.

But life for Greenboym quickly changed last year, when Russia invaded Ukraine, and tragedy struck Greenboym’s home. Greenboym’s family, still in Ukraine, was in danger and she needed to get them out as fast as possible.

Luckily, Yemin Orde stepped in. The staff took notice and provided the financial support to help Greenboym’s family immigrate to Israel. Now, when she is not working, Greenboym visits her family and even goes back to Yemin Orde. Her youngest brother is currently in tenth grade at Yemin Orde, following in his sister’s footsteps.

“It is nice to know that he is receiving the same support I did. I am incredibly grateful,” Greenboym said.

There are currently 400,000 at-risk youth in Israel, according to Yemin Orde officials, who need assistance. The school has worked with 5,000 of them. They believe their work is just beginning.

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