ORT Ukraine Schools Receive a Meaningful Gift

Earlier this month ORT received an amazing donation of hundreds of unique, hands-on math games for our students and teachers in Ukraine. As the conflict in Ukraine approaches its third year, this gift has made a meaningful impact, and we want to share the story with you.

Nan Ronis

Nan Ronis is a member of the Jewish Federation of Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. She and her husband own a company called Suntex, which produces educational math games.  Nan has been in touch with ORT about her 24 Game product for years. These games teach elementary-age students math skills in a fun and engaging way. There are no words on the game cards – just the universal language of numbers. For her, donating hundreds of these games to our schools and students in Ukraine just made sense.

Nan said, “My 93-year old dad, Max Ronis, is from a family that emigrated to the US from Odesa. When the war broke out, he said to me ‘Nan, you have to help the children there – send your games to Ukraine.’” Nan explained that their approach to education is to create opportunities for “soulful interaction”, and to build confidence in students through joyful learning.

This donation was a way for her to bring some of that joy to students in Ukraine, a country close to her family’s heart, providing educational resources while giving a nod to her ancestors. The games and many more modules are available online in the company’s First in Math platform, but for these students a hands-on experience was so important – offering a unique educational opportunity, during a time of crisis.

This inspirational gift was facilitated by the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, and their dedicated Executive Director, Jeri Zimmerman. Jeri was moved by Nan’s desire to share these resources with students in Ukraine who have faced unthinkable trauma over the past two years. She immediately got in touch with a local Ukraine relief agency, and was able to coordinate the shipment to six ORT schools across the country. ORT is grateful to her and the Lehigh Valley Federation, for making this possible, and for their ongoing support.

ORT Students at the Odesa ORT Zhabotinski Lyceum No. 94 open boxes of Math Kits sent from the United States

Mila Finkelshtein, the CEO of ORT Ukraine, was moved by this gift. She loves that the games go beyond math, and will help her students develop communication and English skills as they work in small groups. She says, “Usually, our schools are very limited in using unusual educational materials and books that don’t have a special state registration or recommendation. This time, it was like an immediate decision – YES! We want them, they are super! I believe these beautiful games will help our kids to improve their skills in English and Math.”

Perhaps even more importantly, as the situation in Ukraine remains volatile, Mila explained that the while the kits will be used in regular school lessons and after-school lessons, they will also be in shelters during air-raids as a welcome distraction.

“It is difficult to find here in Ukraine any person/kid/family/school who is not impacted by the war. Even in the safest city of Ukraine, Chernivtsi, kids are spending hours in shelters under raid attacks, a lot of parents are in the Defense Forces, they’ve lost their parents and relatives. We are trying to use any possible occasion to make the childhood of our “kids of war” as peaceful and joyful as possible. These games are part of this very difficult task.”

Exploring the new math kits at the ORT School Bila Tserkva Lyceum Mitsva 613 in Ukraine.

 Stay tuned for an update on ORT’s efforts in Ukraine over the last two years, and more information on our ongoing needs as we remain committed to providing the resources our students, teachers and their families need to thrive. You can support that work by donating to the Ukraine Emergency Fund.

Odesa students receive Math Kits from the US

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