LIFE Program
Social Change & Leadership Development
In Israel and India

The internships will change lives & help build your future

In both India and Israel, you will take on a tailor-made internship position that advances a social justice agenda through change-making work in one of the diverse fields to which LIFE is connected, including human rights, education women's empowerment, health, law, the environment, and more.

The internships involve professional work on a project-basis in program development, policy, program evaluation, or capacity building. They not only provide valuable, real-life experience, they also help you explore, clarify, and create options for your future.  LIFE works with exceptional NGOs and government agencies in India and Israel on projects that help them better serve the population with which and for whom they work. 

Past LIFE participants are rightly proud of what they have achieved during their year, and what they have gone on to do afterwards. Since the program started three years ago, LIFE Fellows have contributed over 10 cumulative years of work to important social sector projects in India and Israel. They have advanced women’s rights, fought child slavery, improved micro-finance programs, advocated for religious pluralism, supported African asylum seekers, developed sustainable policies in Jerusalem, innovated in mind-body wellness, and much more.

Below you will find more information about the types of internships we offer, as well as our placement process which has helped us achieve a very impressive track record of placing our interns in high level and meaningful internships.

India: The Internships & Placement Process

LIFE’s expertise lies in assessing the needs within a community and matching those needs with Fellows who are capable of meeting them. Although that may seem like a simple process, often it is not. This is particularly true within the context of another country, and certainly in India.

The Placement Process in India

The placement process begins upon acceptance to the LIFE program. Wel ask each participant to complete a detailed internship interest form. After reviewing this form, our staff will call to discuss in detail your interests and provide important cultural insight and context vis-à-vis your requests. Once we have completed this initial stage with all participants, LIFE’s Director Yonatan Glaser, will travel to India in September before the program commences to meet with leaders of major social change NGOs in Hyderabad. Having traveled to India three times a year for the last three years, Yonatan knows the situation, the organizations and their leadership well. The goal of the meetings is to review and assess the NGO's needs in India and to ensure that placements are “demand driven,” and therefore meaningful and productive.  Moreover, on these planning trips LIFE works to secure suitable mentors and logistic staff for the duration of your stay in India so you will grow professionally with the support of top local leadership.

In most cases, LIFE participants will know while in Israel about their internship placement in India. While we cannot guarantee this arrangement in all cases, we do take extraordinary efforts towards this goal so that even during the short two week orientation in Israel we can help you meet with Israelis who work in the same field. Your internship is planned to start on Monday, October 31, 2011 (about a week after your arrival in Hyderabad) and continue through until the beginning of February 2012, with a week of holiday around the New Year.

Past LIFE participants are rightly proud of what they have achieved during their year, and what they have gone on to do afterwards. Since the program started three years ago, LIFE fellows have contributed over 10 cumulative years of work to important social sector projects in India and Israel. They have advanced women’s rights, fought child slavery, improved micro-finance programs, advocated for religious pluralism, supported African asylum seekers, developed sustainable policies in Jerusalem, innovated in mind-body wellness, and much more.

Recent Internship Placements in India

Here is a sampling of some of the projects recent LIFE Fellows have completed in India. See our Partners page to get a sense of the NGOs with which we often partner.

  • Develop and pilot test training modules for English teachers working in schools in very poor villages, and evaluate the use of various English language programs and teaching strategies in those settings.

  • Draft a business plan for a major NGO that is planning to set up a new network of over a hundred schools to serve poor families in medium-sized cities.
  • Prepare case studies and a policy paper to enable an influential Indian NGO help policy-makers understand and address the plight of millions of children whose families undergo journeys of seasonal and circular migration from rural areas to urban centers.
  • Conduct a needs assessment of teenagers in foster care homes to help the NGO develop new programs for this population as they prepare to leave and go back into the community.
  • Write an assessment of the implementation and enforcement of a recent law about school-age education to assist advocacy for better implementation.
  • Write a manual in, and train teachers about, the use of alternatives to corporal punishment as a classroom management technique. This was to help a leading Indian Child-Rights’ NGO in its efforts to rid Indian schools of physical punishment in the classroom.

Israel: The Internships & Placement Process

Our approach to internships in Israel reflects just a bit of the cultural differences that you will experience on LIFE in both India and Israel. In India, there is sometimes a tendency for an NGO to be willing to take a ‘foreign national’ as an intern because it reflects prestigiously on the institution.  Unless the internships are arranged by a profession who understands the cultural nuances and is skilled at assessing needs, an ‘internship’ could be arranged even where there is no real need or productive work to be done. Preventing such a situation is just one reason LIFE travels to India in advance of your arrival.

In Israel, however, quite the opposite is true – rarely would an NGO entertain the idea of accepting an intern if a clearly defined need was not evident. Yet in Israel the difference between ‘general help’ and a defined project that is demanding and involves professional skills and judgment is not always understood. Furthermore, even when an acute need exists, the internship will usually be finalized once the NGO’s leaders have actually met with the candidate on-site. And, of course, in a land of immigrants from throughout the world, there’s very little novelty when an individual from abroad joins the staff.

The Placement Process in Israel

The placement process for your internship in Israel formally starts at about the mid-point of your experience in India. Since a participant’s experience in India very often influences and even radically changes what would otherwise be the assumed course of action in Israel, LIFE intentionally allows a significant amount time to pass before starting this process.

The process also entails you filling out an interest form followed by a conversation via Skype based on your responses. Afterwards, LIFE begins seeking those organizations that may make a good match and follows up to assess interest and need on the placement side. After we make a match, LIFE provides you the details and, in some cases, contact is made with the organization prior to leaving India. In almost all cases, internships will only be finalized when you meet with the NGO upon your return to Israel.

Recent Internship Placements in Israel

Here is a sampling of some of the projects recent LIFE Fellows have completed in Israel.

  • Policy development for an Israeli member of Knesset about the representation and role of parents in the national education system nationally, and to co-write the law she will propose to implement that policy.

  • Map the areas where training programs by Mashav, Israel’s international development arm, could meet the needs of Brazilian professionals working in poverty reduction, and recommend courses that it should offer them.

  • Supporting the development and implementation of a new Jewish-Arab summer camp for young children.
  • Develop and carry out a mentorship program for Tel Aviv based, African asylum seekers in a leadership development program. Ensure their maximal learning as they develop and implement projects for their community.
  • Develop interview framework for Israeli-Jewish and Israeli-Arab/Palestinian thought leaders to map and explore dominant paradigms about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as the basis for programmatic strategies for a new, action-oriented think-tank.
  • Strategize for a mind-body training organization to help it identify services and change strategies to best help staff working in trauma-related areas handle – and help their clients handle - stress.
  • Monitor, for a leading NGO, the implementation of a High Court ruling that outlawed segregated seating (by gender) on public buses going through religious neighborhoods. Ride buses and sit (the Fellow is a woman) in areas previously reserved for men; report on bus drivers’ support (or not) of women’s legal rights.