For a while, Monim Haroon was looking for a course that would prepare him to take the IELTS English language exam, which is a proficiency exam commonly used to evaluate international students who want to enter university. He asked several centers for asylum seekers in Tel Aviv, but none of them offered the advanced English class he was looking for. Then he asked JACC, and found out they had a class.
Monim is from Sudan, and before coming to Israel he spent 3 years studying electrical engineering at a university there. While in school, he was a political activist.
“My life was endangered so I had to flee,” he said. After he left, the government arrested his younger brother and three of his friends. They were not released until a few months later.
When he arrived in Israel, Monim decided he wanted to continue his education.
“I want to study as much as I can because I believe education is such an important tool that can develop my community,” he said. To do so, he needed to improve his English by taking an advanced class that would help shore up his academic vocabulary and facility with the language.
Twice a week for three months last summer, Monim and two other students came to JACC to study with Cassie Kramer, an English teacher at the center. At the end of the course, Monim passed the exam and, in the spring, was accepted to Hebrew University.
“They accepted me based on the level of English I learned at JACC,” he said. “Without IELTS, I couldn’t study in university. My dream was to finish my education, and now I have it,” he added. “I don’t know how to thank [JACC].”
In the time since he studied in Sudan, Monim has decided to pursue a different degree. In part because of the circumstances of his life, at Hebrew University he will be studying political science and economics.
“It was the reason I fled my country, so I feel like I should study this,” he said. With the education he receives at the Hebrew University, Monim hopes to one day return to his country and help build a better democracy.
“If I study this I will have the equipment to help the community,” he said.
While still living in Israel, Monim said he is grateful for JACC because of their dedication to his community.
“They are showing the beautiful side of citizens of this country in opposition to the government’s policies towards refugees,” he said. “They are giving lessons in humanity.”