What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?
In December 2007, contact was been made between Thomas Libiih, a Former Member of the Cameroon National Football Team and President of the Local Academy for Children at Risk, and Avi Nir, the Israeli Ambassador to Cameroon. Mifalot sent a team to Cameroon to discuss its program model focusing on the values of education, tutoring, and community development and Mifalot’s football program for disadvantaged and at-risk children. Mifalot’s educational philosophies and perspectives were found to be very relevant in Third World cultural settings. following this, in 2009,Mifalot instigated a program in Rwanda for orphans of the civil war of the 1990’s. This also proved to be very successful, and led to requests from all over the world, including, for example, in Haiti after the earthquake, and Mifalot understood that this was a model which could be replicated and adapted to the needs of almost any country, ensuring sustainability as well as one of the fundamental requirements is participation of local community leaders who will continue the program after Mifalot leaves.
The involvment of an Israeli organization in humanitarian work and local empowerment abroad is not an easy feat. The israelis face so much problems at home, so they don't have the time, will or resources to do so. Avraham Burg, Chairman of Mifalot, has led the innovative approach that we must assist other nations with our know-how, following the lessons we have learned. This should be Isrel's biggest contribution to the world.
Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.
Activist and political leader Avraham Burg has been a leading figure in Israeli politics for over 20 years. The youngest speaker in the history of the Israeli Knesset (1999-2003) and a staunch supporter of peace in the Middle East, Burg has been referred to as “one of the best speechmakers in politics.”
Despite having grown up at the heart of the religious Zionist movement, Burg has led the way to a more liberal reconciliatory approach to the Middle East conflict; “All of my life I’ve been an activist of the peace camp ... I’m ready to go a very long way to bring people together from dialogue to acceptance and than compromise.” In a bold move, he became the first speaker to invite his Palestinian counterpart to address the Israeli Knesset.
In his book, God is Back (2006, Hebrew), Burg explores the critical need for separation of religion and the state. He warns that an increasingly large sector of Israeli society disdains political democracy. In his most recent book, The Holocaust is Over; We Must Rise from Its Ashes, (2008, English) he argues that the Jewish nation has been traumatized by the Holocaust and has lost the ability to trust itself, its neighbors or the world around it.
Burg has written for The Guardian and the International Herald Tribune and appeared on CNN’s Crossfire and CBS’s The Early Show. Currently, Burg is leading a British-Israeli investment company that attracts funds to strengthen businesses in Israel.
How did you first hear about Changemakers?
Through another organization or company
If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company
Streetfootballworld and Sport For Development Platform