However, opportunities for at-risk youth from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds are scarce. This year the JCF provided $235,000 to support five programs that that address the needs of both at-risk youth and entire communities; current recommendations would provide $305,000 in continued funding. One example is Maase: Afak – Volunteering and Year of Service for Arab Israelis.
Maase: Afak – Volunteering and Year of Service for Arab Israelis
The degree of socio-economic mobility in Israel is one of the lowest in the western world. This is very evident in the large and growing social gaps between the periphery and center of the country. The accessibility of young people from the periphery to volunteer service year programs in Israel is extremely limited and very few participate in them (more than 90% of the participants come from high socio-economic backgrounds). In addition, the prevailing approach of most of the programs working in the periphery is one of care-giving, stigmatizing and weakening the youth. Consequently, there are very few mechanisms that foster local young leadership in the periphery.
Afak aims to promote socio-economic mobility, community involvement and an equal and just civil society in Israel through a yearlong volunteering program for Arab-Israeli young adults. The underlying rationale for the program is based on the empirically tested paradigm, indicating that volunteerism is an effective method of empowering young adults and creating opportunities for social mobility for those who lack them. The volunteer activity takes place in the volunteers' home communities and consists of three main components: (1) Volunteering in educational frameworks after receiving intensive training; (2) leadership training and multicultural encounters, and (3) education and career development.
Learn more about our work in Israel.