The Oleander Initiative

“The goals of this project are exactly the same as the desires of the citizens of Hiroshima. I hope that this idea will be cultivated, take root and blossom throughout the world.” - Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan

Months after the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, a small patch of red oleander flowers bloomed out of the irradiated rubble. Since then, red oleander has symbolized both the dangers of nuclear war and the hope of a more peaceful future. In a similar spirit, the Oleander Initiative, co-organized with the University of the Middle East Project, shares the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with American, Middle Eastern and North African educators to foster nuclear disarmament education in classrooms and promote awareness of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war.

For more information, read the 2016 and 2017 Oleander program reports. And for an in-depth look at how Oleander impacts the lives of our participants, watch NHK World's 7-minute feature on our 2017 program:


Physicians for Social Responsibility's Speaker Trainings on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons

To bolster domestic understanding of the catastrophic threats posed by nuclear weapons, the Otterman Foundation proudly supports Physicians for Social Responsibility's Speakers Bureau. With our support, PSR is hosting in 2017 three interactive workshops on health and humanitarian messaging to encourage individuals, faith groups, Rotary groups, and legislators to take action to abolish nuclear weapons.


Treat the Pain: Rwanda

Treat the Pain, a program of the American Cancer Society, tackles the unmet need for pain relief around the world. With Otterman Foundation support, Treat the Pain launched in 2017 their first-ever program in Rwanda. This initiative is providing staffing and technical assistance directly to Rwandan health ministries to bolster pain management programs across the country. The initiative will also improve the skills and motivation of individual clinicians by improving access to information and to other clinicians interested in pain treatment. 


The Last Hurdle Program

Implemented in Israeli public schools with a low matriculation rate, the Rashi Foundation's Last Hurdle program targets 10th-12th grade students who failed or are expected to fail the matriculation exam in only one or two subjects. Overcoming this last obstacle would therefore allow them to obtain the matriculation certificate, which is a prerequisite for academic studies.

The BSOF is currently supporting after-school programs for Bedouin students in the Negev. Studies takes place mainly after school hours and in intensive “marathon” days outside the school. With few exceptions, the teachers are members of the school staff who received specialized training. Since its inception in 2001, the program grew in scale from 80 to 1,500 students a year and from 4 schools to 50, while the success rate remained consistently high – more than 90% of the participants pass the matriculation exam in their "obstacle" subject. Moreover, after building a cadre of teachers who are trained and experienced in applying the principles of the program, the schools are eventually able to implement it independently with their own resources, guided by the program's professional team.