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Contact: Sarit Schonbrun
JNF Communications Manager
212-879-9305 ext. 222

JNF-KKL to Provide Agricultural Training
at Youth Village for Survivors of Rwandan Genocide

July 15, 2008 -- New York, NY -- To aid young survivors of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (JNF-KKL) will provide agricultural training at the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) -- a project of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to help hundreds of children orphaned as a result of the genocide.

Modeled after the Israeli Youth Village of Yemin Orde, which was established in 1953 to accommodate Holocaust orphans and immigrant children, ASYV will offer a protected residential environment as well as innovative educational programs, recreational facilities, a health clinic, and psychological services. Situated on 143 acres in Rwanda’s Eastern Province, it will eventually be home to 500 orphans, graduating 120 people from high school each year.

JNF-KKL will establish agricultural plots, greenhouses, and honey-producing beehives on land adjacent to the village and will use this farm to train hundreds of young survivors in agricultural work, giving them the farming expertise to support themselves when they return to their native villages.

"By establishing plant nurseries and training the youngsters at the village, we are giving them tools to cope and helping them to support themselves with dignity in the future," said JNF-KKL World Chairman Efi Stenzler.

During the course of just 100 days in 1994, over 800,000 people were killed in the Rwandan Genocide, which left even more people displaced, a country in ruins, and nearly 1.2 million children orphaned.

In addition to providing the basic human needs of food, shelter, and protection for traumatized youth still struggling with the aftereffects of genocide, the ASYV aims to prepare these youth to take on leadership roles in their society and give them the chance for a productive future.

An initial delegation of JNF-KKL staff is currently touring Rwanda to examine soil and environmental conditions and determine which species will be suitable for cultivation at the farm. They also plan to explore genetic preservation of the exotic species of fruits native to Rwanda; cultivation of stands of trees for use as cooking and heating fuel to reduce felling in Rwandan forests; and the introduction of beehives to produce honey for both local and commercial use.

“As a non-governmental organization, JNF-KKL places emphasis on pioneering breakthroughs in the management of open areas and woodland, in combating desertification, and in land and water conservation,” said Stenzler. “This delegation is just one example among many of the exportation of expertise and know-how to other countries and organizations throughout the world, including the US Forest Service and the International Arid Lands Consortium.

"Many delegations of JNF-KKL experts in forestry, combating desertification and erosion prevention have visited countries such as Nigeria, Paraguay, Chile, Indonesia and Mexico, while numerous other delegations come to Israel to learn and observe innovative developments and methods firsthand."

For more information contact Sarit Schonbrun at 212-879-9305 ext. 222 or

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Jewish National Fund (JNF) began in 1901 collecting coins in blue boxes to purchase land and return the Jewish people to their homeland. In over 106 years, JNF has evolved into a global environmental leader and become the central address for the land and people of Israel. JNF has planted 240 million trees. Built over 1,000 parks and recreational areas. Constructed security roads. Educated students around the world about Israel. Created new communities so that Jews from around the world would have a place to call home. Discovered drip irrigation and new means of growing plants under arid conditions, bringing green to the desert. Built over 200 reservoirs and water recycling centers, increasing Israel’s water supply by 10%.

As a United Nations NGO, JNF sponsors international conferences on desertification, shares afforestation techniques and funds research on arid land management. Is restoring northern Israel, making it home again to its residents. Is supporting Israel’s newest generation of pioneers by developing the Negev Desert, Israel’s last frontier. For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.


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