American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
96% Rating
(18 Reviews)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) was established in Boston on May 1, 1985 when Larry Phillips and Larry Simon, together with a group of rabbis, Jewish communal leaders, activists, businesspeople, scholars and others came together to create the first American Jewish organization dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among people across the globe.

Since that time, AJWS has remained true to our founders' vision and commitment to tzedakah: empowering people throughout the world to achieve justice and self-sufficiency through the promotion of human rights, education, economic development, healthcare and sustainable agriculture.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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IzzyPar
Female
24 years old
Washington, DC
TCM International Institute

Couldn't recommend it more! Volunteer with AJWS

10/10

AJWS expanded my understanding of international development, women's rights and food justice, among other things. The group leaders are well trained, knowledgeable and easy going. Our host community was welcoming and welcomed us into their homes like their own children.

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Judy
Female
57 years old
Washington, DC
TCM International Institute

Support of vulnerable youth in Cambodia's provinces

10/10

Prior to my 3-month volunteer experience in Phnom Penh, friends at home asked me why I would even go to Cambodia, not exactly a tourist must-see destination. After my return home, I told them about my work, my deep respect for the Khmer people, and my new attachment to a country that hadn't been on my radar before. My experience as an educator allowed me to write curriculum for training youth 18 to 30 years of age, and how to organize themselves to create and actualize volunteer projects in their own communities in eight provinces. In addition, I wrote grants for my organization, Cambodian Volunteers for Society, and even felt the immense satisfaction of receiving funding while I was still there. I know that my work was valuable to CVS, but I never anticipated the personal rewards I would receive as I was embraced by my new Khmer friends, devoted to improving conditions in their beloved Cambodia. AJWS provided me the necessary support to find housing and an in-country representative was available to help solve potential problems. AJWS has an uncanny ability to match professional skills of potential volunteers with the needs of local grass-roots NGOs. My experiences as a volunteer were some of the most fulfilling in my life.

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lkaron
Female
24 years old
Santa Cruz, CA
University of California- Santa Cruz

Volunteering in India

8/10

Volunteer Summer was definitely a program that I would recommend to a friend. The way that I chose the program was because I wanted to work with women's empowerment in India, and that was definitely part of what the group did. The group was also extremely diverse. It ranged from individuals who were very observant of their Judaism, as well as individuals who were very aware of social justice issues. Therefore, if an individual is well-versed in social justice issues or is very observant, go with the expectation that you will be the teacher, and not really the student. However, I met great people, and people that I had met that summer I will definitely be friends with for the rest of my life. Also, volunteers did not have a lot of freedom on the trip. We had to constantly had to travel in groups of three, and we were not allowed to go into town without group leaders. Also, we had NO freedom to travel by ourselves on the weekends. We had to stay at the compound, so if you're expecting to travel, this is not really the trip for you. However, we did go on a couple weekend trips that were pretty fun. The living accommodations were also pretty comfortable, which is somewhat ironic, considering that we were living in a somewhat rural community. We also stayed at extremely lavish hotels which was also ironic considering the circumstances that we were surrounded by. However, the food was delicious, and I had a lot of fun. It was also an awesome way to see India, but I would definitely want to go back by myself at a later date.

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Dorit
Female
57 years old
Connecticut
Other

Eye-Opening, Amazing Experience in Uganda

10/10

AJWS Vounteer Corps links Jewish professionals with grass-roots NGOs in the developing world who can help the NGOs in capacity building. I spent 3 months in Kampala Uganda, working with a small women's advocacy group advocating for improved human rights and access to healthcare. As a lawyer with a human resources background, I essentially built a human resources system for the NGO. I also helped them with grant-writing and reporting.

I worked with a core group of approximately a dozen Ugandans - dynamic, inspiring, desperately poor and barely educated women who at great personal risk had started this tiny organization determined to fight for their rights. On a day-to-day basis, I drafted policies and documents of all sorts, but also attended countless workshops around Uganda with members of the NGO as well as local police, health care providers and many other human rights groups.

The work was intellectually challenging but most of all inspiring. I got to know the women I worked with well, and empathized greatly with their cause. On a personal level, I felt I learned far more from them than they did from me, and I came to like them tremendously and admire them enormously for their courage and tenacity.

As a woman living alone in Kampala, I felt very safe. Ugandans are some of the most welcoming, open people I have met anywhere in the world, and I felt comfortable from the start.

I lived in a private apartment that I rented from a retired Ugandan couple, and learned to navigate the crazy public transportation system so I didn't feel isolated. I spent time with my landlords, my colleagues at the NGO, as well as some other AJWS volunteers.

I've lived overseas before, so I wasn't thrown off by things that might be viewed as hardships by many first-timers -- such as the constant power outages, internet failures, etc. My kindle and my reading headlamp were my constant companions.

I joined a local running group, and spent many weekends exploring Kampala as well as the Ugandan countryside. I ran a half marathon in Jinja - the "Source of the Nile" - and at the end of my stint with AJWS spent a week touring magnificent, beautiful Uganda. (Relatively untouristed, Western Uganda is spectacularly beautiful - I did some of the best hiking I've ever done and got to trek both gorillas and chimpanzees.) I also had the opportunity to spend Passover with a Ugandan Jewish community called the Abayudayah - a memorable experience that I will treasure always.

The highlight of my experience was being invited by one of my Ugandan work colleagues to attend a "kwanjula" -- a traditional Ugandan engagement ceremony. This was a colorful, fascinating, fun afternoon and I felt beyond honored to be invited. At the subsequent wedding, I was even more honored to be asked to make a little speech on behalf of my NGO -- which I did, in the local language!

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Justine
Female
24 years old
Lucknow, India
Other

WPF Review

8/10

Living and working in a conservative Indian city as a young, single, white woman has been the most challenging experience of my life. I would not be able to survive this year without the encouragement and guidance I get from AJWS. Knowing that they have my back makes all those times when I'm frustrated by the language barrier, lonely or feeling lost worth it.

AJWS has impressed me by how thoughtful, attentive and helpful the staff are. It meant a lot to me when the director of the program wrote me an encouraging letter after he heard that I had had a bad experience with an auto rickshaw driver. The staff have made me feel listened to, respected, and valued.

As a World Partners Fellow I have become more resilient, understanding and humble in ways I didn't know were possible. I'm only half way through the program but I know that I will never be the same again and will take the lessons I have learned from AJWS and from India with me for the rest of my life.

--Justine Dowden, World Partners Fellow 2011-12

Program Listings

India

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
AJWS World Partners Fellowship is a fully funded award granted to recent Jewish college graduates and young professionals see...

Cambodia

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
Join the AJWS Volunteer Corps program in Cambodia. This program is designed for Jewish professionals and retirees who will be...

India

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
The AJWS Volunteer Corps Program in India is designed to give Jewish professionals and retirees the chance to use their skill...

Uganda

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are often denied the basic right in many countries; so...

Thailand

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
The AJWS Volunteer Corps Program in Thailand is designed to give Jewish professionals and retirees the opportunity to utilize...

Uganda

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
The AJWS Volunteer Corps Program in Uganda is designed for Jewish professionals and retirees to get involved in a volunteer i...

India

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
AJWS organizes summer volunteer program for Jewish college students in India. The summer volunteer program is a great way to...

Senegal

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
The AJWS Volunteer Corps program in Senegal is designed to give Jewish professionals the opportunity to utilize their skills...

Kenya

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
The AJWS Volunteer Corps program in Kenya is designed for Jewish professionals and retirees to get involved with a number of...

Uganda

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
This summer volunteer program for college students in Uganda is designed for Jewish students by American Jewish World Service...

Ghana

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
This high school volunteer program in Ghana places high school students with a local NGO in Ghana for a summer volunteer prog...