The Ayalim initiative involves communities, established in Israel’s Galilee and Negev regions, primarily by students with an entrepreneurial spirit. The goal of Ayalim is to encourage a spirit of idealism among young men and women building their lives in disadvantaged communities. Ayalim is a Jewish Agency for Israel program, funded by UJA Federation, through UIA Federations Canada.
Three Ayalim villages are now within the range of Hamas rocket attacks, but the danger has not deterred the students. The Ayalim students of the two villages in Beer Sheva and the village of Yachini decided to stay in the area despite the fact that their University classes were cancelled, so that they could help the residents of Yachini, Sderot, Netivot and Beer Sheva who have been under constant missile attacks. The Ayalim students immediately became central in the planning of local councils of the cities under attack.
One example of how the students are making life more bearable in the region is the drumming lessons for children in all the 70 shelters of Netivot that 4 Ayalim students organized.
Families in the region have also been invited to Ayalim villages outside the range of the rockets, where they are greeted by volunteers and spend the day playing games, doing arts and crafts, listening to music and dancing. These activities provide therapy, not only for the children, but for the parents who can watch their kids play outdoors safely and happily once again. Each week, Ayalim reaches out to over 1500 kids.