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Organic farming and the pride associated with growing, literally and metaphorically, can be a powerful way to connect society's disenfranchised to something inherently meaningful. Kaima's vision is to harness the principles of organic farming to improve the lives of high school dropouts, particularly those unable to adapt to conventional indoor learning and adult-driven frameworks and reconnect them to a sense of purpose and possibility.
Founder of Kaima Organic Farm, educator, and social entreprenuer, Yoni Yefet Reich, was born and raised just outside Jerusalem in the rural village of Beit Zayit where his lifelong love of nature first took hold. Yoni is a graduate of Ein Kerem Community Environmental School. He received his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 2005 and will soon complete his MA degree in Non-Profit Management at Hebrew University. He has considerable experience in NGO administration and in social educational program development and implementation. For example, for five years, Yoni served as the director of Moadon Re'ut, a soup kitchen and social club for Jerusalem's poor and elderly, conceived of and run by high school youth; created social action programs for special needs individuals; and organized five youth trips to Poland. Yoni worked for many years by the side of his mentor, the late educator, clinical psychologist, and rabbi, Dr. Aryeh Geiger (z"l).
Kaima, or "sustainability" in Aramaic, aims to re-engage and empower drop-out and otherwise marginalized youth (ages 15-18) through a multi-faceted program of hands-on organic farming. Our main initiative, Kaima Organic Farm, seeks to provide employability skills; offer work experience; teach teamwork and community building; encourage leadership development; build personal awareness; and foster environmental stewardship.
The project targets Israeli teens who are severely disconnected from any sense of community. Participants learn to grow, cultivate, market and sell the farm's organic products through the universally recognized Community Supported Agriculture model. CSA is a wonderful way for subscribers to get fresh organic produce delivered to their door each week. Uniquely, program participants earn a salary, thus viewing themselves as fully invested partners in the undertaking..Someone has to take a chance on these kids, and Kaima is ready to do it.
Kaima closely collaborates with other professionals committed to transforming the lives of these teens as they enter young adulthood. Although Kaima is primarily an educational-occupational initiative, there will be a secondary, yet substantial objective - providing fresh organic produce for the community at large.