On this years Veidah there was a particularly interesting and lively debate surrounding who should be LJY’s charity of the year. Whilst there were a number of extremely worthy causes put forward, there is one which I believe is particularly well-suited to LJY’s ideological mission, to the nature of our charitable work and which seemed to resonate with a great number in the room.
Barnardos, our new charity of the year, is a childrens charity which works with some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable young people in Britain today. Tackling issues as wide-ranging as fostering and adoption, sexual exploitation, domestic violence and child poverty, Barnardos do invaluable work with over 100,000 young people. (see their website for more details – http://www.barnardos.org.uk/)
Why though, is it so well-suited to LJY, and why did it seem to strike such a chord with so many in the room?
Firstly there is something especially powerful about young people helping young people – a youth movement giving time and energy to help other young people who were not born into as fortunate circumstances as many of us have been lucky enough to be. This was a sentiment expressed repeatedly at Veidah. Furthermore at Kinus a few months ago there was a strong request for a charity which was easily understandable and more relatable than previous years. In the last 4 years we have had solely Israeli charities which have sometimes felt a little distant for some of the younger participants in particular. Barnardos tackles an issue which is both geographically and age-wise, closer to home and will hopefully be invested in with greater emotion and energy than ever before!
Secondly it is extremely easy to get involved in Barnardos on a local level. With over 500 charity shops and many local, community projects it offers an opportunity for LJY members to commit beyond the few weeks of camp a year and inspire other communities we may be part of to get involved also.
Thirdly, it offers the opportunity to educate on a number of particularly pertinent and little touched on issues. Child poverty being an excellent example. Though many of us will live a few hundred metres from any number of the 3.5million children who live in the UK in poverty, or the 1.6million who grow up in a cold house because their families cannot afford heating, it is an issue that is often hidden from us. If we believe in social justice then surely we must start at home, helping those of our age and physically close to us first and foremost.
Fourthly, Barnardos are an extremely efficient, well-organized charity. They have numerous projects which we can help with and they have a network of resources and professionals who can guide us as to the best way to raise money for them. With 92p of every £1 going directly to young people, Barnardos has an extremely high meta-charity rating and we can be sure our money is being well-spent. On top of this though, they are committed to seeing our money spent as we want it spent – we can tailor our donation to a specific cause. I am currently in touch with a number of employees at Barnardos who are extremely excited to work with us and are currently coming up with various fundraising ideas and activities, which can hopefully be put into use soon!
Barnardos is a fantastic charity who we can do truly good and effective work with this year. It is a charity which is true to LJYs values and will hopefully be able to inspire and enthuse members from across the whole of the movement. We will hopefully be able to reinvigorate our activity with regards to charity and make our charity of the year this year an educational, but more importantly practical, focal point of LJY events over the coming year.
By Ben Leibowitz