Is to reduce extreme poverty in some of the poorest regions of the world, driven by the expertise of the UK Jewish community.
Jewish tradition teaches us to see the world globally, in ever-widening ripples of responsibility. We believe in ‘Tikkun Olam’, repairing the world, beyond its national and religious boundaries. Whilst it is not within our grasp to eradicate extreme poverty by ourselves, it is our responsibility to be part of an interconnected global response.
The idea of responsibility to the world is deeply embedded in Jewish thought. It had been forgotten for a long time – simply to survive was clever – but now we are not in that situation, and the Jews have a responsibility to play a part in the world. This is what we are here for.
Is to build strong partnerships, deep connections, and future leadership to create sustainable, long term change.
Our sustainable development work is in livelihoods, education and youth empowerment. Our livelihoods work includes projects in microfinance, vocational skills training, agriculture & livestock, and all of our work impacts non-Jewish beneficiaries overseas – we are a diverse interface between the Jewish and non-Jewish world as we work with many different faiths and cultures. We focus on impacting women and young people, as evidence shows this leads to the most sustainable long-term changes in communities.
Simultaneously we work with the UK Jewish Community to increase its own sense of global social responsibility. Through informal education, and by providing opportunities to volunteer and learn with our partners overseas, we connect the community on a deep, personal level to our impact overseas. Our impact is shown through data, case studies, and evidence that demonstrate how beneficiaries are being lifted out of poverty, that best practice is being implemented across our networks, and that young Jewish leaders are emerging to influence the Jewish community to be more globally socially responsible.
Our roots go back to Band Aid in 1984, which moved millions of people across the globe, including the British Jewish community. In the spring of 1990 a small group of activists held a series of open seminars on global issues called ‘Tzedek’. These seminars set the tone for the organisation – rooted in Jewish values and engaging with the reality of development work. In the autumn of 1990 Tzedek was formally launched as a charity to fulfil this mandate.
Initially, money raised, and projects supported were in South India, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Swaziland and public seminars were held for the UK Jewish community.
In 1995 we took a major leap forward. We expanded the Board of Trustees, employed a part-time development officer and began a volunteering programme in Zimbabwe. Five volunteers (mostly graduates of Jewish youth movements) took part in the first scheme co-ordinated by a long-term volunteer, in Zimbabwe.
The following years saw continued expansion and development. Volunteers increased in numbers each year and, when political circumstances limited our activities in Zimbabwe, new programmes and partnerships were established in West Bengal, Kenya and Ghana. New overseas projects developed in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana. Each project brought new relationships, partnerships and friendships in those countries.
We employed our first full-time director in 2007. In that year we won a significant three-year grant from DFID for our education work, matched by the Pears Foundation. Soon afterwards Tzedek was accepted as the first resident of the Pears Foundation’s JHub in West Hampstead. Tzedek called JHub home until the end of 2012 and through that residency, we continued to expand in resources, staff programmes and of course impact.
The Pears Foundation has been instrumental in our story of growth and continued success. They are our key partners in bringing our message to the Jewish community in the UK.
Tzedek now boasts a growing set of overseas development programmes and a unique set of programmes operating within the Jewish community. We are a small staff team of 4 full time and 2 part time staff working from our office in Childs Hill, London, and one country director based in Ghana.