|Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (centre), Hà Nội People’s Committee member Đỗ Thùy Dương (seated, right) and the chairman of the Israeli Association of Community Centers, Aviad Friedman (seated, left) at a signing ceremony in Hà Nội yesterday of an agreement on establishing community centers in Việt Nam. — VNS Photo Ruti Sinai
HÀ NỘI — Israel and Việt Nam signed an agreement yesterday on establishing a series of community centres based on an Israeli-developed model. The agreement was signed in the presence of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin who is on an official visit to Việt Nam.
The first center will be located in Hà Nội. Having received the blessing and promised support of the capital’s Chairman of People’s Committee, Nguyễn Đức Chung.
“It’s great that Việt Nam wants to supplement formal education with informal education,” President Rivlin told Việt Nam News. “In my meetings with the minister of defence and the general secretary of the Party I explained that Israel’s military is a people’s army, just as it is in Việt Nam, and it has a central role in bridging the gap for young people who didn’t have all the advantages and opportunities.”
Rivlin added that Israeli towns that know how to make use of their community centres and to take responsibility for their activities, “benefit tremendously, and I hope they will in Việt Nam, too.”
Đỗ Thùy Dương, a Hà Nội businesswoman and member of the Hà Nội People’s Committee, recently visited Israel to learn about the community center model and to tour such facilities.
The 700 centres operating in Israel offer after-school activities, lifelong learning courses, social activities for the elderly and disabled, community meeting venues, and much more.
“We intend to foster the spirit of community in every Vietnamese person. Unfortunately, our children and the residents of local neighborhoods do not enjoy leisure and enrichment activity within and for their communities,” she said.
“We are starting in the capital, with its eight million residents, and from here we will reach the whole of the country,” she added. Funding will be provided by the city and private companies within the framework of Corporate Social Responsibility projects.
“We are proud to be a pioneer in exporting Israeli social innovation to countries in Asia,” said Aviad Friedman, chairman of the Israel Association of Community Centres, “The ability of community centres to operate everywhere in a manner compatible with the spirit of the community and its various needs is an excellent model, which can be adapted to many places in order to optimize human capital.”
The community centers “contribute to a strong and resilient society,” said Einat Halevi Levin, a social entrepreneur who facilitated the agreement. — VNS