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Residents of the Negev and the Galilee, among them large numbers of disadvantaged populations, are cut off from the economic, cultural, and educational opportunities that are available in the centre of the country. The growing socio-economic gap between the residents of the periphery and the centre of the country poses serious threats to Israel’s future.
Inspired by the pioneering spirit of Israel’s founders, The Ayalim Association established in 2002, promotes the physical and social development of the Negev and the Galilee, regions designated as National Priority Areas. Over 700 idealistic young adults live in fifteen Ayalim Student villages where they serve as agents of change for strengthening distressed areas, both in periphery towns and inner cities.
In return for housing and academic scholarships, each student volunteers 500 hours of community work a year, working mainly with children, but also with teenagers, new immigrants the elderly and other vulnerable populations.
Utilizing their skills and areas of expertise, they tailor their work to the specific needs of the community. They initiate social, cultural, and educational projects: renovating buildings and cleaning bomb shelters; running enrichment centres and providing tutoring and assistance with homework; giving lessons in various subjects; and much more.
As they become attached to the communities in which they are living, many Ayalim graduates choose to make their permanent homes in the Negev and the Galilee, where they can continue their work of building and their social activism.