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Volunteering in Israel – New Experiences After Retirement

Greetings from Israel! My volunteering in Tel Aviv at the Guiding People with Special Needs project was a marvelous experience! I retired this summer, but didn´t feel old and tired! I wanted to travel around, meet new people and do something momentous – so what would be better than volunteering!

I’ve always had two important values – a humanitarian and an eco-friendly one – which I wanted to include to my volunteering. So I started to google organizations with those values and found GoEco!

My work was an after school program for children with special needs. The humanitarian aspect became apparent and I could see loving care in the behavior of the staff! Pupils were using wheelchairs and they had severe communication disabilities. The instructors – and gradually I also – assisted children in eating, going to the toilet, singing songs to/with them, reading books and showing them pictures. Sometimes we all gathered in a hallway for the purpose of singing songs, listening to music and dancing.

I’ll always remember Miriam, a severely disabled pupil, whom I was primarily supposed to be with! During my last visit in the school, when Miriam’s father came to take her home, Miriam took my hand and waved goodbye. Usually she just left without any gesture.

The ecological nature of my volunteering became apparent for example in traveling – by bus, by train, by walking! It wasn’t only economical, but also very useful; I learned how to find my way around!

The accommodation was OK in general, but there was only one toilet and two showers for all of us in our corridor shared between about 10 people. Here comes the ecological part – when having a shower one had to be very quick not to cause queues –> water saving!?

I shared a room in a dormitory with two lovely ladies, which was awesome. We did a lot of things together such as sunbathing on the beach, cooking, visiting museums, going to the movies and enjoying many nice social evenings!

I’m so grateful for having so many positive experiences volunteering in Israel and I got positive energy for participating in something very important!

PS. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of my volunteering place. As a special needs teacher I prefer not to take photos in the class or at least one should have permission from pupil’s parents which I did not ask for.