Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Israel
Grassroots Volunteering in Israel
The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:
Goats With The Wind
The cows cry ‘moo!’, the sheep shout ‘baaa!’ in anticipation of your visit to ‘Halav im ha Ruah’, the home of Amnon and Daliah. Past volunteers here have included Shaolin and Christian monks, performance poets, Olympic football coaches and the under 17 Israeli ping pong champion. There is also a tradition that Mick Jagger invented the name for his rock group whilst volunteering at the farm and carrying stones for Amnon (though as the Zeldsteins established this remote farm in 1993 with five goats, we suspect they are pulling our leg with this one). Work can consist of anything from cleaning, gardening, feeding the animals, milking the goats, decorating the farm with miniature paintings, carpentry, collecting rocks, building walls and many other things. Volunteers don’t need any particular skills except to be willing to work hard. The minimum stay is one month.
Hostel Work Exchanges
Many hostels use help exchange networks (see below) to find volunteer staff but the following either advertise on their websites or are particularly noted for taking on volunteers:
The volunteer programme of the Jerusalem Abraham hostel began in the first weeks of the hostel’s existence, when a young traveller asked to stay on and help them out. Volunteers contribute to the social atmosphere of the hostel, help serve breakfast, plan and run evening social events, assist at the bar and escort guests to the starting point of the Old City tour.
Where: Jerusalem. Naama, in charge of recruiting volunteers for the Abraham Hostels network, got in touch with us to state that they are also always in need for volunteers at their two other hostels: The Abraham hostel in Tel Aviv and the Fauzi Azar Inn in Nazareth.
Accommodation & Costs: Volunteers get a free breakfast and live in a five bed mixed sex dorm room, occupied solely by hostel volunteers.
More Hostel Work Exchanges
Tel Aviv’s Florentine Backpackers Hostel frequently use their Facebook page to put a call out for volunteers, where they say they treasure the behaviour problems of alcoholics, people with obsessive-compulsive disorders, ADHD, and/or insomnia if they work out to their advantage. Overstay TLV are also thought to be receptive to taking in volunteer staff while TripAdvisor confirms our suspicion that Hayarkon 48 takes on volunteers too. One reviewer says “part of the duties are on volunteers. This can sometimes bring to a not very clean kitchen”. Those looking for a quieter time may prefer the solitude at Silent Arrow Desert Lodge.
Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Israel
Though peak kibbutz was at least a generation ago, no entry on low cost volunteering in Israel would be complete without mentioning the kibbutz movement. Since the first kibbutz was established nearly a century ago, hundreds of thousands of volunteers have contributed to these communal settlements. John Carson was one such volunteer. His site has been around a long time now and remains a good place to learn more on what a volunteer can expect from the lifestyle.
Around 250 kibbutzim are still around today and volunteering with one can be arranged through a representative in your own country (a list can be found here) or once in Israel via The Kibbutz Volunteers Program Center. A longer term kibbutz programme, at five months and with Hebrew lessons, is Kibbutz Ulpan. Way More Israel is an Internship programme based in the Old City of Jerusalem providing a combination of internships, Hebrew immersion classes and exploration of Israel. Prices can be steep or free depending on your nationality and eligibility for a grant.
Each year ALUT, the Israeli Society for Autistic Children, welcomes 150 volunteers from 24 countries around the world to help in its residential homes for adults. Volunteers must commit to three months and work for 35 to 40 hours per week. In return ALUT provides volunteers with sleeping quarters, transportation, pocket money and volunteer insurance.
A minimum three month commitment is required to volunteer with Crossroads, a centre in Jerusalem that provides programmes and social services for at risk English speaking youth that are homeless, struggling with drug addiction, violence and domestic abuse, as well as social, emotional and educational difficulties. Recruitment of volunteers to fill a variety of positions generally takes place from August 1 until September 30, and involves an interview process, volunteer orientation and training, and follow up meetings.
Thanks to volunteers from all corners of the world, Dentist Volunteers Israel offers free treatment to at risk children and youth. Dentists need a minimum of two years’ experience.
Help Exchange Networks in Israel
Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Israel
Stay for free in return for caring for local residents’ homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). Young Jews can get a free ten day trip to Israel. Check if you are eligible at Birthright Israel.
Kibbutz Volunteering – How it Changed My Life – Sean was sat on a couch watching TV when his dad suggested he go work on a kibbutz in Israel.
* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations
Image courtesy The Jewish Agency for Israel
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