How it all started
Kama Community was established in 2003-2004 by a group of individuals who graduated together from a mixed army and civil service program. After their service, they felt a need to make volunteerism and community improvement a part of their lifestyle. They chose to live in Be’er Sheva, and in 2006 established Tor HaMidbar, a nonprofit that would serve as their social action arm, a platform to actively engage in social change – later to become “Eretz-Ir”.
Today Kama Community is home to 14 couples and 20 children. Its members work in various social fields – nonprofits, social work, education, and social entrepreneurship, including four members of the management team of Eretz-Ir. Many community members actively participate in Eretz-Ir’s activities as staff and volunteers, as well as comprise its board and steering committees.
In 2017 Tor HaMidbar (“Time of The Desert”) changed its name to Eretz-Ir (“Country, City) , reflecting the organization’s growth and expanded mission of enriching cities in all of Israel’s periphery, not only in the Negev Desert. Eretz-Ir works to show people that the cities in Israel’s periphery are a viable and desirable option when choosing where to live.
- Promote community development in peripheral cities by encouraging local civil activism.
- Create innovative solutions to social needs by establishing social-business initiatives.
- Promote quality, diverse employment in the Negev by developing tri-sector partnerships and holistic solutions.
- Enhance public awareness to the high quality of life that cities in the periphery can offer, attracting and retaining young populations.
Eretz-Ir’s Theory of Change:
- We believe that communities, social initiatives, and quality employment in peripheral cities will strengthen the cities both economically and socially.
- Residents report higher life-satisfaction and sense of local responsibility in cities with socially engaged residents.
- Social entrepreneurship is a central element in community health, creating involved residents, public engagement, and innovative solutions to community needs.
- Residents who choose to settle in the periphery identify community needs on the ground. When these residents are empowered by their surrounding community, social and economic solutions are created. These responses positively affect the city strengthening the economy, increasing quality of life, and creating positive community life.
- In light of this, Eretz-Ir’s mission is to work in the geo-socio peripheral cities to create diverse communities and develop social business solutions in order to raise the quality of life in the city and change the way the city is perceived. These actions together increase community resilience across Israel’s peripheral cities.