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Drive to boost volunteer numbers

    A volunteer in Nepal helping with the disaster relief effort after last year's earthquake
    A volunteer in Nepal helping with the disaster relief effort after last year's earthquake

    A new initiative will encourage young British Jews to sign up for volunteer work in impoverished nations across the world.

    Representatives from OLAM, a global umbrella group working with 46 different partner organisations, will travel across the UK next week in a bid to inspire young adults to work on aid projects in countries such as Ghana, Haiti and Ethiopia.

    "It is the first tour of this kind, not just for the UK, but anywhere," said Dyonna Ginsburg, the group's executive director.

    Starting on November 28, the five-day OLAM roadshow, a collaboration with partner groups Tzedek, JDC Entwine, Project TEN and Tevel B'Tzedek, will tour Bristol, Cambridge, London, Leeds and Brighton, staging events at campuses and community locations such as JW3 and Moishe House in the capital.

    "We are definitely hoping to increase participation from within the UK Jewish community - at the moment the numbers involved from there are pretty small," said Ms Ginsburg.

    OLAM was founded early in 2015 as an alliance between four groups determined to improve the Jewish community's involvement in development work.

    It supported Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis's Ben Azzai Programme, which was launched in September and offers Jewish students the opportunity to experience conditions in the developing world.

    "I think OLAM recognises that while we needs to address our own internal needs, the responsibility does not end there. We are about making engagement with global issues more central to Jewish life.

    "If we delve deep into Jewish texts, tradition and history, all point to a direction that is both responsible to the needs of our own and also responsible to the greater world and to some of the most needy on the planet."

    Some of OLAM's parners' work over the past 18 months includes erecting community buildings in Sri Lanka and the Philippines and working with people in Nepal whose lives have been shattered by the 2015 earthquake.

    Ms Ginsburg said: "I am super excited about this roadshow because while the young adult UK Jewish community is untapped in terms of numbers, I believe it can go on to become a role model for Jewish communities across the world."

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