AJWS - World Partners Fellowship Volunteer in India

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AJWS World Partners Fellowship is a fully funded award granted to recent Jewish college graduates and young professionals seeking an intensive international volunteer service experience. The program lasts for eleven months and fellows live in India addressing issues relating to sustainable development, health, education, community development, natural disasters, and much more. Along with full-funding, fellows will also have their airfare covered by AJWS.

The fellowship incorporates the volunteer experience in India with Jewish study and skill building. This includes periodic study of Jewish texts and traditions that inspire the volunteer spirit. The program intends to educate fellows on human rights in the international context. Fellows return to their local communities prepared to advocate for social change at home and abroad.

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9.4 Rating
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Yes, I recommend this program

WPF Review

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

1 person found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Invaluable Experience. Apply NOW!

Collaborating with Navsarjan, an organization that empowers communities marginalized by Caste, to meet individuals where they are at and supporting them on their own terms turned out to be the most amazing experience. It opened my eyes to so many important realities. Participating in this kind of work, work that advocates for individuals and focuses on both their present and their future, was so meaningful and worthwhile. I learned so much from people that commit themselves to a cause that they so believe in. Watching them model what it means to be a caring, hardworking, devoted and conscious person was invaluable and has enabled me to be a more empathetic and open person in my current work and current life. I am grateful to AJWS for giving me this opportunity.

1 person found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Thoughtful and Strong Partnerships

AJWS matched me with an organization, Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust (sankalptrust.org) in Bombay, India, that was a better fit for me than I ever could have imagined. AJWS staff are super thoughtful about placement, and spend significant amounts of time and energy to ensure that partnerships are healthy, leading to the success of effective and sustainable work. I helped Sankalp develop a new website and online presence, marketing strategy, their 15th Anniversary Celebration, newsletters, Annual Reports, and a love for using technology amongst staff.

The fellowship is extremely well funded, I was allowed to change my living arrangements when I wanted to, I thoroughly enjoyed our orientation and midpoint educational programming. AJWS also encouraged me to learn Hindi, which turned out to be the most valuable skill I could have gained, in order to make myself feel included and comfortable. Through this program, I developed my adaptability, and gained a sense of balance, between ambition and humility.

1 person found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Want to learn what Development Really Is?

Get paired with a grassroots NGO for the wildest ride of your life. Your 11 month Fellowship will show you the pitfalls and successes that grassroots development faces in India. Whether your interest be the environment, human rights, health, animal, local artisans, or advocacy, the AJWS World Partner's Fellowship has a plethora of partners that place you right in the thick of development programs.

Working alongside a rural health access NGO, I saw first hand how local communities were finding solutions to issues of infant and maternal mortality, access to basic health care, and women's empowerment issues. Over the course of my Fellowship, I was able to bond with local village health workers and understand the underlying causes that created the conditions of poverty, inequality, and health disparities - be it socio-economic inequality, caste, or language/cultural barriers.

I do not want to make it sound like it was easy. It is very difficult to integrate yourself into a community that is genuinely very distant from your own - where barriers in culture and language challenge even your basic daily activities. But the strength of the program is the length of your Fellowship, where over the course of 10 months your placement truly allows you to get past these impediments and form substantive relationships with your community.

Overall, a great program and formative to my future interests. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in development or international work - even at the peripheral level.

1 person found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience - Exceeded all my expectations

I thought all I wanted was to get to India, and I got so much more out of this fellowship. The month-long orientation is better than any other program's I had heard about - it left us so prepared for our experience. AJWS has wonderful relationships with local NGOs and a lot of effort goes into matching you. Once you're there, the support from the staff is tremendous. As well as the support you give and get from the other fellows in your program.

1 person found this review helpful.