Perach aims to enrich and improve the life of vulnerable children through a warm, caring relationship with a personal mentor as well as promote tolerance and understanding among different sectors of society through joint activities. At the same time, the programme helps university students meet the cost of higher education, by providing partial scholarships and/or academic credits in return for their work. This also allows university students to experience first-hand some of the country’s most pressing social problems, developing their knowledge and social commitment.
Israeli National Prize for Quality in the Public Sector. Israel Prize (2008). The organisation has received worldwide recognition by several public and private institutions, including a Unesco Delegation to Israel.
- In 2012, about 60,000 children from 1,216 schools participated in the project in 198 cities and towns all around Israel.
- Approximately 15% of all students in higher education participate as mentors each year.
- The programme has a high positive impact on children’s academic achievements (51%), motivation to study (60%), self-esteem (82%) and social status (76%).
At the beginning of the process, a coordinator pairs up each mentor with a mentee, after interviewing them separately and obtaining background information. During the course of the school year, pairs meet for two hours, twice a week. Encounters take place at the pupil’s home, at the university campus, playgrounds, libraries and museums or at Perach’s enrichment, communication and science centres. The aim is to acquaint the mentor with the child’s home and family life. Activities are always supervised and monitored by coordinators, but the pair have the flexibility to decide what to do in each session: prepare homework, play computer games or football, go to the movies, go on nature hikes or other activities. Most of the students meet their mentees on an individual basis, while the others serve as tutors in their field of study through group activities.
The programme syllabuses are prepared by professionals who provide the tutors with written materials and guidance. These activities are offered in a variety of areas, such as health and dental care, science education, nature and environment, law, music and others. The project also operates interactive science centres called Havayeda Teva, where children are encouraged to play with interactive exhibits, educational games, books, audio-visual media, art materials and computers. The idea behind it is that children are naturally curious about their surroundings and learn more effectively through hands-on, active experimentation.