As a participant in this cross-cultural education program, RCNY received an update on the project from the Haifa Rotary Club. Dr. Amnon Shefi of Hi-Teach was a major coordinator for this important program. Hands Across Water educated more than one thousand students of Jews and Arabs to work together in search of advanced water solutions which was the theme of the successful year.
The Rotary Hands Across Water program was run by the Haifa Rotary Club in collaboration RCNY and many other clubs and districts, harnessing the power of our Rotary collective. Together, Rotary’s Hands Across Water cross-cultural water project emerged as an inspired science education program which has been running large water projects. Hands Across Water culminated in a graduation event held in honor of the International Water Day
In 2010, a successful collaboration was established between the Rotary Club of Coral Springs-Parkland, Florida and the Rotary Club of Lod, Israel to utilize principles of water conservation within schools as a platform for promoting social interaction between various ethnic and religious communities in Israel.
Beginning with the diverse and underserved City of Lod, a rainwater harvesting system was constructed at two anchoring institutions – the Ha Mapilim School and the Agricultural Learning Center (Farm School) – serving as a joint, demonstrative tool for ten nearby schools (three Arab Israeli/Palestinian and seven Jewish) to utilize for student’s hands-on learning. A third anchor was added with Gany Aviv School for advanced activities. The innovation and excitement generated by these efforts has served as a catalyst for further cross-cultural exchange amongst the schools, resulting in complementary sustainability projects and an adoption of a culture of conservation.
Building the Model – Hi Teach
With continued leadership and support provided by the pilot schools, surrounding community, and Rotary partners, these initial efforts served as a foundation for an expansion of the program.
In 2015, Israel was awarded its largest Global Grant from Rotary International to utilize principles of water conservation as a platform for promoting cross-cultural exchange amongst 10 schools of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. The program officially took on the title: Rotary Hands Across Waters (RHAW).
Initiated by the Rotary Club of Haifa, Israel and the Rotary Club of Coral Springs-Parkland, FL, RHAW is a growing partnership of over 25 leading public, private, and NGO organizations, including Technion University, Ministries of Education and Economy, local water authorities, and NASA’s GLOBE Program. RHAW is transforming the next generation of water leaders to collectively address our most pressing environmental issues.