Young Druze Innovators


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1 May 2016
Young Druze Innovators

The ICEJ HQ recently hosted a group of budding young entrepreneurs from the local Druze community. The teens, accompanied by their school principal, project supervisor and community elders, presented an innovative, prize-winning science project to the ICEJ staff. Earning first place in the northern Israel school district qualified them to compete in the upcoming nationwide LEGO League Competition in Tel Aviv.  

Juha Ketola, ICEJ’s International Director, introduced the students to the ICEJ and thanked them for their visit. “You have a great future ahead of you and we want to continue working with you and the larger Druze community too,” expressed Rev. Ketola. A Druze community elder then thanked the ICEJ for their support and explained a little about their culture.

The project involved the use of “compost worms called Eisenia Fedida to decompose crude olive cake (waste).”  In Israel, a byproduct of the olive harvest is tons of cake waste (left over after extracting the oil). Subject to rapid spoilage and proper disposal, cake waste presents a significant environmental challenge. “The students came up with the project themselves,” explained Dr Kamal Sharaf, a Druze scientist who served as a supervisor to the team. “I simply guided them and informed them of the various environmental issues that need solving.”     

One by one each child stood and briefly explained the aim, purpose, results of their project: Special compost worms break down the cake waste and produce organic matter which serves as a rich chemical-free fertilizer. The produced fertilizer was scientifically evaluated, and proved superior at growing plants than the average on the market.

The research for this and other school projects was made possible thanks to an ICEJ-sponsored computers and libraries. “We want to give our heartfelt thanks for your generous support for our program and in general for the Druze community;” said the school principle. “You are investing in the leaders of the future.”

ICEJ Aid director Nicole Yoder presented each student with a certificate and a gift from the ICEJ, and a new donation was also made to their Selaf Felek Druze community.

When asked about the future application of their research, one of the girls answered, “We hope to have a small factory which produces commercial environmentally friendly fertilizers.”

The students of the school are already working on their dream. To partner with the ICEJ in assisting with similar educational projects in Israel please donate at


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