Jeff Green | Feb 21, 2013
Jory Bolton is an NAEC graduate from Flinton who is just finishing up a Bachelor of Arts at Trent University in International Development Studies and Spanish.
Before heading off to teach in Spain next year she will be participating in a trip to Israel and the West Bank in May with a group called Operation Groundswell.
The trip includes visits with two Israeli groups, Rabbis for Human Rights and Breaking the Silence, as well as work with a group called Naasej in the West Bank, which is devoted to education efforts targeting vulnerable groups of people.
Rabbis for Human Rights is a group made up of 100 rabbis in Israel.
They describe their mandate in this way: "Rabbis for Human Rights serves as a shofar for the distribution of information about human rights in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We work in partnership with local Israeli organizations, and with international human rights organizations.”
Breaking the Silence was founded by a group of ex-Israeli soldiers who have been active in the West Bank in recent years. They describe their mandate in the following way: “We endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life.”
For Jory Bolton the opportunity to put her educational background in International Development to some use and to deepen her understanding of issues in one of the most couples and historically dense regions of the world had a strong appeal.
“I heard about Operation Groundswell four years ago, and now that I’m graduating I have some time available,” said Jory. “I’m considering a Master’s Degree in Refugee Studies so the opportunity to visit Palestine and Israel is ideal.”
Operation Groundswell was set up in 2006 by students who wanted to volunteer in different parts of the world but were disillusioned with what they saw as a volunteer trip industry that they describe as “glorified tour operators, manufacturing an experience rather than facilitating one.”
On their website they say the trips they sponsor in 21 countries are “all about ethical travel. We’ve sparked a movement of globally active and socially conscious backpackers, what we like to call backpacktivists.”
Part of the way Operation Groundswell works is to provide funding to the groups and organisations that they visit. Each of the 10 or 12 participants in the trips must not only pay their own travel costs, they need to raise $1,000 to donate to local programs.
Jory Bolton, home for Reading Week this week, has been fundraising locally to cover the $1,000 donation requirement. She is putting out flyers at all businesses and is also reaching out to the public for support. And she is planning to share what she learns afterwards.
“I will be coming back after the trip to make a presentation at one of the local halls about what I experience on the trip,” she said.
To make a donation go to fundraising.operationgroundswell.com/jory.