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Rachel's Story

Telfed welcomes Trustees of the Doone Foundation

The tears, both of joy and difficulty, were flowing freely in the Telfed boardroom, as Rachel* shared her experience of her Aliyah to Israel.  She came to share her story with her scholarship benefactors, the Trustees of the Doone SA Charitable Foundation, who were in Israel for the organisation’s AGM. 

In the 70 years of its existence, over 100 philanthropic Southern African (family) foundations have created trust funds under Telfed’s management.  Typically, a percentage of their annual income is allocated to the organisation’s charitable projects.  Rachel was one of the participants in Telfed’s ‘PRAS community service and scholarship programme’ that the Doone Foundation supports.

Arriving in Israel at the age of 14, she recounted the difficulty of being a new olah in a foreign country and her mother’s cancer diagnosis a few months after their arrival in Israel.  The transition was not an easy one for them, as her father was bound to a wheelchair, after a traumatic brain injury following an accident, which causes him to have epileptic seizures.

Struggling to overcome the language barrier, fit in a new school and cope with ailing parents, her first exposure to the PRAS programme was when a university student came to voluntarily spend time with her and mentor her through the process.  The attention and motivation given to her by the PRAS student had a profound impact on Rachel, inspiring her in later years to enrol in the scholarship programme herself during university, working towards her degree in BioMedical Engineering and Neuroscience

Rachel is ‘passing it on’ with a double volunteering commitment, by mentoring and assisting children from two SA immigrant families as they settle in to life in Israel.  Distinguishing herself as an exceptional individual, Rachel has been selected to serve as the National SASI Coordinator, another one of Telfed’s scholarship programmes that offers assistance to foreign Southern Africans Studying in Israel. (Read more here)

This is just one of 150 different success stories of PRAS students and Telfed is honoured to have worked with the Doone SA Charitable Foundation for over two decades, helping to fulfil their charitable objectives. The AGM provided an opportunity to go over business matters and consolidate future plans.

The presiding Chairman noted with regret the intention of fellow Trustee Leon Lewis (who founded the entity 26 years ago), to retire.  He recounted the “sterling job” that Lewis (an attorney by profession) undertook, with their friendship dating back some 50 years, to his original practise in Durban. “Leon is known for his intellect, honesty and integrity and we are fortunate to have a man amongst the top draw and calibre.  Although we will let you go, we will miss you and thank you for your exemplary service and involvement” he concluded.

For his part, Leon spoke of his ”fond recollection of the legendary Aaron Beare family and former Beare Holdings Chairman Alec Rogoff z’’l.  It has of course been a pleasure to work with you and Telfed - it has been a wonderful experience”, he said.  “Being able to support the PRAS programme has been particularly rewarding, as I am sure that we can agree that education is the answer to most problems in society.”  Leon was presented with token gifts and a certificate of appreciation.  “I am touched and greatly valued my association with the foundation over the years. I have the greatest of admiration for all people who give voluntarily to the benefit of the community”.  His concluding sentence perhaps best summed up all the elements present at the meeting: the volunteer students, the benevolent representatives of the Foundation and Telfed lay-leaders in attendance, who are all giving back to the community, each in his own way.  Shkoyach!

(*not her real name)

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