Mission: American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is an international development organization motivated by Judaism?s imperative to pursue justice. AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality. Through grants to grassroots organizations, volunteer service, advocacy and education, AJWS fosters civil society, sustainable development and human rights for all people, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship within the Jewish community.
Geographic areas served: Americas, Africa, Asia
Programs: Strategic Grant Making AJWS funds hundreds of grassroots projects throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America that promote health, education, sustainable economic development, disaster relief, and social and political change. AJWS works with women, youth, ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, indigenous people, refugees and IDPs and people living with HIV/AIDS. Volunteer Service AJWS volunteer service programs are designed to increase the impact of its grant making and to create a cadre of global social justice leaders. Each year, more than 400 AJWS volunteers, ranging from high school students to retirees, travel to the developing world to work with AJWS?s project partners. Advocacy In partnership with grantees, AJWS advocates for U.S. engagement to help find peaceful and just resolutions to the world?s worst conflicts and to provide support to rebuild societies devastated by crisis. AJWS?s current advocacy work focuses on the genocide in Darfur, HIV/AIDS, debt relief, women?s rights, and universal access to education. Education AJWS seeks to make the pursuit of global justice an integral part of American Jewish identity. It brings Jewish perspectives to bear on many dimensions of global poverty through teaching and publishing materials that are true to Jewish tradition and responsive to the unique challenges of the 21st century.
Through AJWS, I participated in an Alternative Spring Break in Nicaragua and a Volunteer Summer program in Ghana, and then received support to launch a women's leadership initiative in Mwange Refugee Camp, Zambia, and conduct research on refugees' access to justice in Meheba Refugee Settlement in Zambia.
AJWS is an incredible organization deeply dedicated to cultivating social justice leaders. The support I received as a volunteer while in the field was outstanding, but I have been truly impressed at how hard AJWS has worked to make me feel a part of a community and to support me long after I returned from the programs. My experiences with AJWS in Ghana launched me on a professional and academic track of work related to Sub-Saharan Africa, and also strengthened my Jewish identity and commitment to Jewish pluralism.