Project TEN volunteers in Uganda. (Ofri Strasburg)

Imbued with values of charity and hope for a better world, young Jewish volunteers are helping communities in distress in Uganda, giving them tools to help themselves in the future.

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Project TEN—known as the “Jewish Peace Corps”—is partnering with a coalition of organizations to join a new volunteer center in Namulanda, Uganda.

The center will be run in partnership with Brit, a coalition of organizations that include the Israel Volunteer Association, Inspiration Arts for Humanity, and Brit Olam, who have been operating in Uganda for the past 10 years. The center will bring together young Jewish people from Israel and around the world to engage in volunteer work with distressed populations in the area.

The Uganda volunteer center is centrally located in the town of Namulanda, between the capital city of Kampala and Entebbe.

The volunteers will concentrate on sustainable development and infrastructure work for communal projects in the fields of education, healthcare, agriculture, and the arts. They will run healthcare projects in poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Kampala and work in elementary schools in nearby villages. They will also help create a local youth movement and develop a leadership group that will receive intensive training in technology and education.

The first group of volunteers arrived at the center in September.

Worldwide Jewish Charity

This is Project TEN’s third volunteer center in Africa, joining the existing center in Winneba, Ghana and another new center in Durban, South Africa.

Project TEN centers also currently exist in Oaxaca, Mexico and Harduf, Israel. The Israeli center works primarily with Bedouin communities and with groups with special needs. Additional Project TEN centers are expected to be opened in Latin America and East Asia in the near future.

Project TEN [Give in Hebrew] is based on the Jewish values of Tzedakah (charity and social justice) and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) by helping to empower local residents.

The project offers young Jewish people from Israel and communities around the world opportunities to volunteer in various locations for several months in partnership with local organizations.

Director Yarden Zornberg noted that Project TEN centers, which send out some 450 volunteers per year from all over the Jewish world, enable young people to combine their interest in world travel with their desire to do something meaningful with their peers worldwide. At the end of their volunteer period, these young people return to their countries of origin strongly motivated to engage in activism in their communities and worldwide.