In the late 1800s, Jews living in Russia, seeking to help their impoverished peers, established Obshestvo Remeslennogo zemledelcheskogo Truda, or the Society for Trades and Agricultural Labor. The following decades saw this organization expand its services around the globe, but it retains its link to the original organization through the continued use of its acronym: ORT. World ORT serves as one of the most prominent Jewish training and education institutions in the world, and through its partnerships with organizations like UNESCO and its status as a member organization of the United Nations, it has reached more than 3 million people around the world.
ORT’s wide-ranging mission has always been focused on providing people with a strong foundation of job skills and education in order to help them achieve economic security. To this end, ORT has built schools, founded universities, and established new laboratories, in addition to its consulting and advocacy work for a variety of governments and organizations. Thanks to World ORT, more than 300,000 individuals and students are able to receive educational resources through the organization’s online resources and nearly 240 institutions, including an ORT university ranked among the top colleges in the world.
In Israel, ORT maintains a presence at more than 200 schools, in part through its Schulich Canada Smart Classroom Initiatives, which bring interactive technology into classrooms in disadvantaged communities. European ORT initiatives include the Lauder Schools of Prague’s ORT Technology Centre, seven ORT colleges across France, and the Lauder-ORT Dimcho Debelyanov Jewish School in Sofia, Bulgaria. Meanwhile, in the former Soviet Union, which ORT returned to in the 1990s following a 53-year exile, the organization has expanded to educate over 27,000 students annually. In addition to its educational services, ORT has been at the forefront of international cooperation efforts and humanitarian campaigns that have directly impacted the lives of 2 million people living in disadvantaged regions.
To learn more about World ORT, or to find out how to contribute to its mission, visit www.ort.org.