Social Involvement Program Celebrates Six Years Since Its Establishment
On Monday, July 16th, the program "Different Economics" celebrated six years since its establishment by the Unit for Social Involvement at Tel Aviv University and organized a graduation ceremony for this year's participants.
"Different Economics" is a program designed to benefit disadvantaged populations and increase general access to higher education in Israel. It's run by the Unit for Social Involvement at Tel Aviv University, under the auspices of the CITI financial group and the Social Services Department of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality. The program allows TAU students majoring in economics, law, management and social policy to give lectures and workshops on these subjects to people from disempowered backgrounds living in Tel Aviv. The students have one-on-one meetings with city residents who apply for welfare and other social benefits on the subject of smart family budgeting and taking full advantage of one's legal rights. The program emphasizes the development of students' leadership skills and helps combine students' theoretical knowledge with the social reality of Israel, benefitting families and individuals without higher education in the process.
Waking Up to a Different Reality
Students who participated in the project this year said the experience exposed them to a different reality and a different way of life than the one they'd grown up with. They claimed it expanded their views of the society they live in, as many of them and made them look at the world around them in a new light.
"We won't get to experience the real world working at most of the place we aspire to work at. The real world is here, in Tel Aviv's backyard."
"In the last year we've met people who have to struggle on a daily basis. Their chances of breaking the cycle without outside help are slim. The human experience, the connection with our clients, dealing with bureaucracy, the way you can champion a cause and succeed in it, is a lesson one can only learn when faced with reality."
"We're learned that empowerment is not just a word. That if we only give people the chance, they'll discover they have the strength to turn the world around."
The program will reopen in the 2012-2013 academic year.
About the Unit for Social Involvement
The Unit for Social Involvement at Tel Aviv University allows 900 students a year to help affect social change and better local communities. TAU students and staff meet with over 1,500 children, teens and adults a year and harness their skills for the advancement of social causes, giving them unique experiences that continue to affect them as they progress in their studies and careers.