How Two Israeli Brothers Spread Good Will to Africa
Two Israeli brothers, Yonatan and Gilad Shilo, have come up with a plan that effectively pairs Israeli know-how and technology with needy Africans. Through Israel for Africa (IFA), they are empowering the African people with better medicine, agriculture, development, education, water, energy and sanitation, and are helping underprivileged populations throughout the nation lead better lives through a self-sustaining model. The people who are on the receiving end of this aid are underprivileged youth, women’s groups, communities living under the poverty line and those living with HIV.
Projects More Profitable Than Charity
From its offices in Jerusalem and Nairobi, the NGO teaches Africans how to take advantage of their natural resources and fertile land to solve many of their economic problems. Combining “Tikkun Olam” with the spirit of “Tzedaka,” the Shilo brothers create projects that serve as bridges funneling information to areas of Africa that lack the necessary tools and knowledge needed to prosper.
Two of the projects they developed are an offshoot of the IFA Youth Empowerment Program. Through hard work and personal engagement, the youth are motivated to pull themselves out of poverty and maintain sustainable lifestyles. One of the projects teaches skills to youth living in poverty stricken areas. It was a pilot project this year that involved two groups from Nairobi, but next year IFA hopes to create 30 groups.
The second project is more agricultural, in that it gives tools, technologies and training to the locals. The Israeli company Amiran works in Kenya and provides the Amiran’s Farmers Kit, which includes greenhouses, chemicals and technical instruments for agriculture. With this all-inclusive farming kit and hands-on practical training, Kenyans are able to produce higher quality yields compared to tht obtained from traditional farming methods. According to Yonatan, locals using the kits can double their yield of grain produced on ¼ acre. The produce they grow is sold in the IFA Community Center shop, which helps finance the center.
Working Miracles on a Shoestring Budget
Run on a shoestring, the Kenya office is operated by five people and the office in Israel is run by Yonatan and three volunteers. They are working to raise $200,000 to expand their presence in Kenya. The organization was conceived in memory of the late Yehuda Milo, who was an ambassador and diplomat in Israel’s Foreign Ministry.