Time is passing by so quickly, it’s already half way through my internship. These past two weeks have been filled with various activities and work. My favorite part was visiting two of the social ventures that are in IVN’s investment portfolio.
On last Tuesday I went to Jisr az-Zarqa, the poorest Arab village in Israel. A Jewish woman by the name of Neta Hanien visited the village a few years ago when her mother was shooting a documentary about the village. Neta was inspired by the hidden gem and decided to do something to change the economic situation of this beautiful village by the beach. She found herself a local partner, a man named Ahmad Juha, and co-created the Juha’s Guesthouse. Juha’s Guesthouse is built on the idea of bring tourists into the once-abandoned village. Indeed, Juha’s Guesthouse has been very successful in attracting backpackers who wish to have an authentic Arabic experience. The biggest perks that came out of this Jewish-Arab partnership is that as more people are visiting the village, they are also spending money at local businesses. Furthermore Neta and Ahmad are creating a new business plan that will employ the youths-at-risk in the village. Youths-at-risk are being trained to give tours in English and to up-cycle old materials into furniture and jewelry. All this is not possible without the help of Genevieve, a graduate student. I was fortunate enough to have had the chance to meet everyone at Juha’s Guesthouse including a former youth-at-risk. It was eye opening to see all the positive changes they are making in the village.
On last Thursday, my supervisor at IVN invited to me a meeting with a professor from Brown University who is very passionate about social businesses. During the meeting, they talked a lot about the different social businesses in Israel and the U.S. I learned a lot just from listening to them. After the meeting, the professor and I visited the Susan's House, a community center where at-risk teens are employed to make glass and ceramic art. We also had a short meeting with the director of Susan’s House and learned that the purpose of Susan’s house is to integrate at-risk teens into society though art and work. The jewelry pieces and ceramic arts were all very beautiful, I couldn’t help but buy something for myself to take back home.
During the weekend, Madhyama and I went to the Old Jaffa and experienced a different side of Tel Aviv. Old Jaffa is the oldest part of Tel Aviv, hence the name. Unlike the modern and westernized part of Tel Aviv where we live in, Old Jaffa is a nice little area by the port filled with rich history, with an almost European vibe. Plus, great food and shopping is all over as you walk through the Old Jaffa Flea Market.
On Wednesday, Professor Ayelet Gneezy, who also teaches at Rady, gave the Milken fellows (global and Israeli) a talk on overhead aversion. A study on nonprofit overhead spending was conducted between her, her husband Uri Gneezy, and her fomer student. We learned that donor behavior is largely affected by overhead. That is, the higher the overhead, the less likely people will donate to the organization. Professor Ayelet was also kind enough to give all the interns tips on our individual projects. After the discussion, all the fellows mingled and enjoyed a reception put together by Orly, our lovely Fellowship Programs Manager.