A young adult’s life is filled with possibilities, from exploring new places and cultures to trying different career paths. It’s the time when you make mistakes, learn from them, and shape your life’s trajectory.
For Refael (aka Rafi) Edry, life as a young adult was filled with hardships. Today, the world knows him as a successful business leader who owns several companies in Africa and Israel. He’s even won various accolades for his professional accomplishments. But his life wasn’t always as easy.
A Childhood Cut Short
Born in a humble household in Safed, Israel, Refael Edry is the oldest of three brothers. He was named after his brave uncle, Refael Edry z|l, who sacrificed his life in Israel’s War of Independence. He grew up listening to stories of his uncle’s heroic actions, such as hoisting the country’s flag in Safed amidst an incendiary fire.
Refael Edry (the nephew) was barely a teenager when he realized his father’s earnings as a building contractor weren’t enough for the family. Instead of resenting his circumstances, he took control of his life and started working to provide for his family. However, that meant abandoning the hopes of pursuing a profitable career and building a better life.
Turning Things Around
Resilience and perseverance kept Refael Edry going through years of financial struggles and other challenges. Instead of giving up on his dreams, he worked hard to overcome each obstacle and achieve his goals.
While it took a long time, Refael Edry finally launched his own company with his brothers, Eyal Edry and Moshe Edree. Decades later, he’s one of Israel’s most accomplished entrepreneurs and continues to inspire future generations in Safed.
Giving Back to the Community
In the absence of government intervention, many children in Israel’s periphery don’t get a chance to pursue higher education or build a career. They’re left to fend for themselves in a society that doesn’t recognize their plight.
But is it fair to deny these children their basic right to education? Is it acceptable to let them suffer for lack of equal opportunities? When an entire generation grows up feeling neglected, how will the country protect its social fabric in the future?
These burning questions compelled Refael Edry to start the Ahinoam Association for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities. The non-profit organization runs various programs for the upliftment of Israel’s underprivileged children and youth.
Volunteers of the Ahinoam Association identify and connect with at-risk youth in Israel’s periphery. They build a customized development plan for every youngster to help them complete schooling and get a job.
Besides the mentoring program, the organization also offers financial support to students from low-income families. Furthermore, they’re working on various development projects to improve the infrastructure of welfare institutions on the periphery. The organization even supports children and youth from the Ethiopian community in Israel
All these initiatives highlight his dedication to his country and fellow citizens. Refael Edry strives to stay true to his roots and work for the betterment of those around him.
Fundraising for a Cause
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced a new normal, schools in Israel started online classes to help students continue learning. Amidst the hasty transition, they ignored the plight of more than 400,000 students who couldn’t afford personal computers.
Philanthropist Refael Edry and his brothers recognized the problem and approached the government for help. However, they soon got frustrated with bureaucratic delays and decided to start their own fundraising campaign. With the help of donations from ordinary citizens and local businesses, they provided computers to more than 30,000 students.
The campaign’s success lies in the countless futures it helped save. All it took was the proactiveness of three brothers who couldn’t stand the thought of letting thousands of students suffer due to social inequities.
To a Better Tomorrow
There were various points in his life when Refael Edry could’ve blamed his circumstances and given up on his dreams. But his fighting spirit kept him going and helped him overcome every odd. It continues to motivate him to advocate for underprivileged children and give them a shot at a better life.