American Jewish World Service (AJWS) has sent 12 young adults to India to participate in its World Partners Fellowship. AJWS annually awards the competitive year-long fellowship to recent Jewish college graduates and young professionals seeking an intensive international volunteer service experience. While in India, selected fellows live independently and volunteer with AJWS grantees and other grassroots NGOs.
Since the fellowship’s inception in 2004, AJWS has sent nearly 100 young people to India and Central America to work with grassroots NGOs on projects concerning sustainable livelihoods, health, education, and civic engagement. The fellowship is a service-learning experience, integrating the volunteer component with Jewish study and skills building. Fellows convene throughout the year to learn about global justice and international development and to explore Jewish texts and traditions that inspire this work.
This year, AJWS is piloting a new service-learning curriculum for the World Partners Fellowship that aims to prepare fellows to be effective volunteers, while encouraging them to become leaders for social change. The curriculum allows fellows to engage in discussions about the various ethical questions surrounding and approaches to international development and volunteer service. The curriculum also uses Jewish and secular texts, mixed media, experiential education, reflective practice and chavruta study to give fellows the knowledge and tools to be thoughtful leaders and effective change-makers in their volunteer placements and beyond.