Mentoring to Help Low Income Israeli Students “Aim Higher”


In Israel, low income students graduating from high school, including most Ethiopian immigrant students, face great challenges in completing their army service, pursuing higher education, and entering the better-paid branches of the Israeli economy.  Some of these challenges are connected to difficulties with the Hebrew language, and others relate to low levels of family involvement and support.

Many of the Ethiopian-origin students and other low-income students have the talent to attend colleges or universities in Israel.  However, they often do not attend because: they do not know others who pursued higher education, their families do not encourage them towards higher education, or they do not believe they were capable of success at a higher level.

The dynamic principal of the Ironi Chet-Tichon Reshit Municipal High School in South Tel Aviv has been conducting a successful pilot program to mentor the students during and after their high school graduation, with the goal of supporting them to achieve their full potential.

Donors have an opportunity to now support the expansion of this program, which will provide Ethiopian-origin students with mentoring, academic and social support.

The Need

The Ironi Chet-Tichon Reshit Municipal High School caters to over 500 students, the majority of whom come from difficult backgrounds and families of low socio-economic means. Approximately 90% of the students come from neighborhoods in South Tel Aviv and the remaining 10% come from surrounding cities.  Overall, almost 80% of the school’s population lives below the poverty line.

The school serves 155 immigrants from Ethiopia, all of whom have arrived in recent years (since 2000).  The students come from families that are economically disadvantaged, and many of the students’ parents do not speak Hebrew.

These students grapple with severe language difficulties as well as financial and educational challenges. Often, these problems are difficult to diagnose because of language and cultural barriers.

The school’s biggest challenge is to reduce gaps between students (and their parents) and to push them to academic, social and moral excellence. The school believes that by providing support to these students and families, during and after high school, it is possible to narrow gaps and give them equal opportunities.

The Mentorship Program

The program aims to provide mentoring to 70 students—boys and girls—in the 10th to 12th grades.

Mentors are recruited from the following four nearby academic institutions: Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University, Afeka Academic College of Engineering, and Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yafo.

High School students travel to the college/university campuses to meet with their mentor two times per week.  Mentor and mentee spend time studying together, normally with a focus on math and English.  Studying together helps to build a relationship and facilitates a discussion about the mentee’s life and future which follows.

It is also important for the High School students to travel to the campuses so that they get a “feel” for the atmosphere at a higher education campus.  Most have likely not visited one.

The student participants are reimbursed for the costs of transportation to the college/university campuses. The college/university mentors are paid for their mentoring services.

Expected Outcomes

  • Students are directed to meaningful service in the military and civil service as well as to higher education studies.
  • All students will complete their matriculation exams.
  • 70% of students will graduate with high-quality matriculation exams and with 4 and 5 units in Math and English (5 being the highest level).
  • 80% of students will graduate with university acceptance and 100% will be eligible to study at colleges.

To make a contribution to this program, please visit:

About the Tel Aviv Foundation

The Tel Aviv Foundation, chaired by Mayor Ron Huldai, partners with donors from around the world to meet the evolving needs of the City of Tel Aviv-Yafo. The Foundation proudly serves as a driver of progress, elevating the City’s quality of life through education, the arts, sports, social services, the environment and innovative urban projects.

The Tel Aviv Foundation provides for the needy and creates opportunities for a better future for all the residents of Tel Aviv-Yafo. Founded in 1977, it has established more than 820 projects and raised over $750 million worldwide, thereby touching the lives of more than 500,000 people every year.

All funds raised are designated for specific projects and boosted by the City’s unique matching funds program.  This dollar-for-dollar partnership ensures accountability, promotes co-operation between donor and recipient, and strengthens the bond between Israel and the Diaspora.

To learn more about The Tel Aviv Foundation please visit: