WIZO Nir Haemek Youth Village
In Israel, approximately 345,000 youth are categorized at various levels of risk. As a result of personal circumstances these children often have severe challenges in addition to behavioral, academic, and social difficulties.
Without intervention, these lost youth will continue their downward plunge. With no structure, support system or encouragement, they will gravitate toward anyone or anything that makes them feel they belong.
WIZO’s five youth villages specialize in taking disadvantaged youth, giving them a home and enabling them to learn on par with their peers from normative backgrounds. Each has a unique combination of areas of study and special projects.
WIZO Nir Ha’emek Youth Village is located in the Jezreel Valley, near Afula and is attended by more than 1,000 students. It is one of the largest schools in the north. Two hundred students live in the village dormitories. Some are new immigrants, and others are Israelis who come from dysfunctional homes.
WIZO Nir Ha’emek was established in 1927 as a working farm and has developed into a leading school in cultivation and agriculture. The village has a farm, a dairy farm, chicken coops, therapeutic riding stables, an ecological garden and more. The school also specializes in science education and technology. A high percentage of graduates are accepted into the army.
Areas of Study
WIZO Nir Ha’emek is committed to providing students with as wide a variety of resources as possible in an effort to enable them to reach their academic and personal potential.
· Police Academy
· Science and Technology
· Mechanics and Electrical Engineering
· Social Sciences
· Human Resources Management
· Bnei Mitzvah program
Clubs and Extracurricular Activities: Sports, dance, band and singing group, business entrepreneurship, art, robotics and more.
Military Academy – This program combines the rule of law and security together with a major in criminology and sociology. The program is unique and the only one of its kind in the country. Students in the program are from poor socioeconomic backgrounds that prevented them from succeeding in school. The program teaches the youth the values of social order, obedience to the law, mutual responsibility and contribution to the community. A police officer trains the group, participants wear police uniforms, spend time with the police, receive tutoring and personal guidance. Support staff of counselors and therapists follow them throughout the program. Afterwards, many of them have a career in the police force.
Part-time Dormitories- Four times a week, day students of the school stay in the village and receive extra assistance, a hot meal, homework help and a variety of activities and courses.
Learning Center – Qualified teachers for special education build personalized programs for children with special educational needs and give them extra tuition after regular school hours.
Agricultural farm – The cheeses prepared by WIZO Nir Ha’emek are known throughout the north. Students produce and sell the cheeses to residents of the area, thanks to the dairy farm that houses 125 cows, supplying quality milk. Also, on the farm is a chicken coop, a therapeutic riding stable, an ecological garden for environmental studies, a computerized educational greenhouse and a petting zoo. Due to the work on the farm, WIZO Nir Ha’emek successfully cultivates love of the land, the values of Zionism and the environment to the students who all work daily on the farm.
Therapeutic Riding Center- Students work with disabled children and assist them with the horses. This is their chance to contribute to the community through volunteering.
Ecological Garden for Environmental Education – The garden serves as a laboratory showing the principles of organic growth and the need to maintain the right balance between man and nature. It also serves as an Agriculture Studies Research Center on Ecology and the Environment to encourage conservation of nature and to nurture important values.
Foster Homes for Children at Risk – Twelve children aged 4 to 12, referred by welfare authorities live at WIZO Nir Ha’emek with foster parents who raise them and give them love, warmth and security so they can grow up in a stable environment and overcome the traumas they experienced at home.
“A Bridge Through Life” – This program provides a special residence for graduates of the school who have entered the army but have no family to return to on their weekend leave from the military. WIZO maintains contact with and supports its students long after they have completed their studies at the school.