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Monday July 11, 2011
Listed: July 11, 2011

Volunteer in Israel - Tel Aviv Women's Shelter

Category :: Health
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The project will take place in the old Central Bus Station of Tel Aviv, in an area called Neveh Shanan, which is considered to be Tel Aviv's Red Light district. This area is one of the poorest and most troubled areas in the city limits, and is littered with prostitution, drug use, and abuse. The women surviving in this area represent a population with a strong and persisting fear. Most of these women are heavily addicted to drugs, resort to prostitution as a way to pay for their habit, and have suffered through abuse, rape, and severe exhaustion from this seemingly inescapable lifestyle. While the shelter is located in a basement facility similar to a bunker or bomb shelter, and is grimy and dirty compared to our standards, it is the life-force that gives these women something to look forward to day after day.

The women's shelter offers these women a number of services. Most importantly, it offers a safe place to rest. The fear of robbery or rape while sleeping on the streets has caused most of these women to resort to insomnia. The first step of the shelter is to offer a safe space where the women can catch up on sleep, hoping that this may open doors towards future rehabilitation.

The second thing the shelter offers is the possibility of a change of clothes. In providing showers and clean clothing, the shelter gives these women a small element of pride in who they are, and what they may be able to achieve.

The third part and perhaps the part most geared towards rehabilitation, is the cafeteria. Most of these street women, if given the choice between satisfying hunger or satisfying their drug addiction, would choose the latter. The shelter's hope is that in providing a small bite to eat, or a hot cup of coffee, it will also create a forum to promote interaction in a safe environment. Once we connect to their basic needs, we can open a discussion towards counseling and eventually friendship and trust. Because there are absolutely no drugs allowed in the shelter, this is a place where these women can feel clean and safe, but it can hold the danger of withdrawal.

Volunteers are greatly needed to help with the general upkeep of the shelter. Volunteers must understand that they may be working in physically and mentally difficult situations, and must have a strong will to help these women find safety and security. Volunteers may be asked to assist with the following responsibilities:

Cooking and Kitchen Duties
General Upkeep

Tel Aviv-Jaffa is an amazing area of Israel. There are innumerable bars and clubs speckling the city, and it is famous for its 24/7 lifestyle. The northern Jaffa area is home to markets and cafes and is quite a lively and exciting place to live. You will also be able to travel easily, as Israel is a small country with many interesting sites and destinations. Visit Eilat, and its coral reefs on the Red Sea, or take a day to visit Jerusalem, overflowing with religion, culture, and diversity.

Please note: This is an emotionally and physically taxing project that requires a strong heart and determination. Working with women who spend their whole lives selling their bodies to pay for drugs is an incredibly difficult thing to do. You must understand that you will not see any "success stories" here. We are trying to make their lives more manageable and their safety more real, but these women still incur many kinds of abuse. This is the type of work that could change your life if you take it seriously, so please sign up for this project being fully aware of the commitment you must make.

Duration: minimum 1 week

Min age 18
Basic English/ or Hebrew
Good physical fitness
High level of independence
Motivation to work with street women
Full travel & medical insurance
Immunizations (please consult your doctor)
For More Information:
Jonathan Gilben
6 Agripas St.
Tel Aviv
[email protected]
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