My name is Aya Sagi and I am a member of Kibbutz Tzora, married with four children. I joined the Kibbutz as part of my military service, fell in love with the Kibbutz and with my future husband, and have stayed to live here until this very day.
I am the Director of the Kibbutz Volunteer Program
Center, at the Kibbutz Movement.
Currently, 27 kibbutzim are participating in the Volunteer Program, 10 per cent out of the total number of the Kibbutzim. The number of applicants is constantly growing, and has now reached annually 1200 volunteers. The volunteers are coming from 50 various countries: North America, most of Southern America, Scandinavia, Central Europe, Australia, Asia (Japan and South Korea) and South Africa.
The volunteers stay for a minimum of two months and maximum of six months. During that time, they participate in trips being organized by the hosting Kibbutz; join the local volunteer events we organize in three different regions in Israel; have the opportunity to be part of a two day seminar held in Givat Haviva, where they learn more about the history of the Kibbutz, Israel society, the holocaust, Arabs and Jews living together.
Today, two thirds of the Kibbutzim have been privatized; they still accept volunteers who work in the same jobs as in the past: service branches, agriculture, factories and tourism.
The Kibbutz Movement became a movement 40 years prior to the foundation of the State of Israel. The Movement celebrated its hundredth Anniversary in 2009. During 2010-2011 we have organized ten volunteer reunions in Scandinavia and Western Europe, that proved to be great success.
Following these exciting events, we accomplished a worldwide reunion in Israel. It took place on June 18, 2011 in Kibbutz Tzora, having also included a one week excursion for interested former volunteers, from June 12th to the 19th, throughout Israel. During this excursion, the volunteers visited with their kibbutz, traveled and toured old and new sites.
Due to the success and many enthusiastic responses expressed by participants of the tour, we organized a similar Reunion Trip on June 2013. The participants had the opportunity to reconnect with their former volunteers friends who were part of a meaningful experience in their life and meet second and third generation of volunteers, joined the activities in the Kibbutz and in Israel.
We view the volunteers to be potential ambassadors and messengers of good will of Israel to the world.
These meaningful goals and projects have come to realized with the help of my colleagues, Bella Nir and Nava Grebler, who have been in charge of the reception, the follow up, the registration, the sorting and the guidance of the volunteers at all stages. Also, the full cooperation of our dedicated volunteer leaders, who care, support and accompany the volunteers during their stay in the Kibbutzim.
We shall continue with fruitful collaboration.
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