Hello friends, family and community! My name is Raffi and I am a grade 12 student at Nepean High School in Ottawa, Canada. Last February, my family and I were shocked to hear the news that I had been diagnosed with two malignant brain tumours. This rare form of brain cancer, Germinoma, obviously came as a huge shock and affected my life in ways I would’ve never imagined. After going through brain surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and multiple other ongoing forms of alternative treatments my pathway to recovery is finally nearing an end.
For the past 10 years, I have been lucky enough to go to Camp Gesher, a Jewish summer camp based around the values of social justice, socialism and youth empowerment. Having these experiences has given me a heightened connection to my jewish identity and throughout my year of treatments my sense of spirituality has only increased. I want to learn more about this part of myself and see where this path brings me. In order to continue exploring this I believe the next step for me is to travel to Israel, a country filled with Jewish history and the stories of my ancestors. This brings me to my main point.
Workshop is a 9-month gap year program in Israel, beginning next September, run by Habonim Dror, the international youth movement my summer camp is affiliated with. This program offers a submersive Israeli experience, living and working on a Kibbutz as well as learning and growing with your group using many different forms of informal education. This program not only will give me the tools that I need to explore myself on a deeper level, but will also be a personal celebration of my battle and the overall winning of my life’s biggest challenge.
As any parents would, my ultra-supportive mom and dad have spent an incredible amount of time and money in order for me to live the best life possible given the circumstances. Due to the past years expenses, I’m unable to afford the trip and gap-year of a lifetime. Any donations would be greatly appreciated and hopefully, with the help of my community, Workshop will become my reality and I will be able to celebrate my life and the things I’ve had to overcome to the fullest!