Rank and File: Volunteers Clean 2,250 Pounds of Trash at Jaffa Beach

Tackling poverty in India; Summer camp in Jerusalem; Cleaning up trash at the beach

‘Plastics Free Israel’ activists at Jaffa event.
David Beer-Gabel

TACKLING POVERTY IN INDIA: This week, in the midst of monsoon season in India, a group of volunteers from JDC-Entwine traveled four hours north of Mumbai to the Warli tribal village of Ashte to participate in community development with Gabriel Project Mumbai (GPM). The cohort of eight young adult volunteers from the United States and the United Kingdom will spend the next month working in the GPM Love2Learn educational network in government village schools, as well as working with farmers, women’s empowerment and other projects. “The root cause of urban poverty is rural poverty, which forces people to leave their ancestral lands and live in challenging urban slums,” said GPM founding director Jacob Sztokman, a Modi’in resident who shifted his attention in 2012 from high-tech to caring for vulnerable populations in India. “We need to bolster education, health, nutrition and agricultural interventions in remote tribal areas in order to stem the tide of poverty,” he added.

EVERY KID DESERVES SUMMER CAMP: Summer camp is a highlight for nearly all children. But for working parents who have children with disabilities, it is an expensive necessity. Camp Shutaf, part of Shutaf Inclusion Programs in Jerusalem, offers a three-week inclusive camping experience that “brings together kids with all sorts of issues,” Shutaf’s Beth Steinberg told Haaretz. Shutaf is conducting a crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds needed for welcoming another 60 children with special needs to the camp. Steinberg, who co-founded Shutaf with Miriam Avraham, noted that camp tuition is subsidized, and that each family receives the scholarship assistance it needs, which makes parents feel respected. “At Shutaf, we empower families to pay the tuition they can afford and ask for the help they need in a respectful fashion – that’s important for families,” she said. “Every kid deserves to go to camp. Kids with disabilities too!” For more info, visit http://www.campshutaf.org/donate

BEACH CLEANUP OPERATION: If you’ve ever looked at an Israeli beach and thought, “Wow, there must be a ton of trash there,” you’re probably right. Last Friday, 75 volunteers from Plastic Free Israel and Tel Avir picked up 1,019 kilograms (2,250 pounds) of trash at Midron Yaffo Park in under two hours. “It was our biggest event yet,” said Stav Friedman, a marine biologist who founded Plastic Free Israel in February. An Israeli-American who has lived internationally most of her life, Friedman noted that the group’s Facebook likes more than doubled to over 2,500 since the event. “People want to know when we’ll be doing something in their area,” she said. Speaking of which, the group will hold its next cleanup in Haifa on Saturday and then will host marine pollution expert Galia Pasternak, who will discuss pollution and solutions in Tel Aviv next Wednesday. For more info, visit the group’s Facebook page.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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