Technoda Began with 20 Children
By Dr. Gadi Mador
Technoda is a scientific center that beyond its scientific work, takes on a significant social responsibility with the clear purpose to bridge the gaps in Israeli society through science and technology.
Technoda was established during the 1980s, in the distressed neighborhood of Givat Olga. The story began with 20 children that studied science in a small room. Today, in the third decade after the establishment of the Center, more than 30,000 children and youth visit Technoda from all over Israel. Technoda has unique facilities that allow the staff to illustrate the wonders of science on a very high academic level. At its center stands the Stellar Observatory, the Planetarium, a medical simulation unit, an external Science Park Museum and Exhibit hall, advanced laboratories and a special unit for kindergartens.
The educational project constitutes an interactive environment for children coming from a different backgrounds: veterans and new immigrants, religious and secular, urban children and children from Kibutzim, Jews and Arabs. The vision of Technoda is to create an enrichment framework both in a scientific, educational and community levels.
The center activities designed for schools, kindergartens and gifted children occur in the morning during school hours. From noon the social programs designed for children in the neighborhood are held and during the afternoon and evening, the center operates special programs and afternoon classes in medicine, physics, computers, robotics, astronomy, etc.
At Technoda there are various programs with a social emphasis. For example, under the program "Afikim” Technoda becomes for hundreds of children and teenagers, a “home away from home” where children receive a hot meal after school, help with homework and scientific activity until late afternoon. These programs constitute for most of these children the only adult supervised framework after school. In the social context- acquiring knowledge in science and technology has the potential to serve as a basis for ending the vicious cycle of poverty and dependence. The exposure to science and technology opens new horizons for them and serve as a moderating factor to negative effects that are part the street culture. By providing elitist content to "weak" groups, a positive dynamic is created that affects both the participant and his family and immediate surroundings.
Evaluations conducted among Technoda graduates showed a strong correlation not only between the percentage of high school students in the neighborhood that attended Technoda, but also a clear correlation between the number of years of participation at Technoda and success in matriculation in science and technology and in choosing a scientific or technological profession. #
Dr. Gadi Mador is the CEO of Technoda.