Ach Gadol for Lone Soldiers
There are currently 6,400 soldiers serving in the IDF who have the status of lone soldier. While guarding us at borders and checkpoints, these soldiers are simultaneously dealing with cultural, educational, informational and financial gaps. Most importantly, they lack the support and guidance of a nuclear family.
A young soldier without familial support confronts the daily struggle to survive. Upon returning home, instead of enjoying a hot meal prepared by their mother, the soldier is forced to deal with bills, rent, food preparation, house cleaning, laundry, and more. All of these daily concerns divert the soldier’s attention from military missions and weaken their personal resilience. In cases where there is no external support, many soldiers end their military service prematurely or return to their country of origin.
While these gaps exist even before enlistment in the IDF, they deepen during military service and sometimes worsen after discharge. For this reason, we established Ach Gadol, an organization dedicated to providing support for lone soldiers.
She’s like the sun for me, she gives us light
Your contribution can help another lone soldier
Pre-Recruitment Preparation for Lone Soldiers
Many young individuals arrive in Israel with perceptions and expectations that don’t align with reality. The purpose of Ach Gadol’s activities is to make information accessible to individual soldiers and to instill a realistic approach to their IDF service: to set goals, familiarize them with the bureaucracy inherent in the military and civilian systems, share
information about the rights of lone soldiers, and teach tools for coping with their upcoming military service as lone soldiers. The organization’s pre-army preparation includes workshops and seminars throughout the country in 5 different languages, reaching over 500 lone soldiers annually prior to their draft.
The Organization’s Activity in Numbers
Ach Gadol during Military Service
Ach Gadol is the only organization that operates a system of personal accompaniment and 1:1 guidance during a lone soldier’s service. Our model is unique in that each of the volunteers was also a lone soldier and draws from that experience in being able to identify with and embrace the young soldiers, understand their unique circumstances, and become a shoulder to lean on. Foreseeing the young soldiers’ discharge and return to civilian life, our volunteers continue to serve as role models after soldiers are released. We are able to make the soldier’s service more meaningful and facilitate integration into Israeli society, resulting in more productive and accomplished citizens with heightened social awareness. We provide personal accompaniment for over 1,500 lone soldiers annually, including six lone soldier homes across the country.
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Ach Gadol after Military Service
Over the years, the organization has grown and we have accompanied thousands of lone soldiers who are now integrated into academia and the workforce. With that said, not everyone is able to fit in, and there are those who need continued guidance and direction even after they are discharged from the army. Many of these young individuals lose valuable time trying to find themselves, and in the worst case scenario, return to their country of origin with a sense of failure.
Ach Gadol’s alumni club provides lone soldiers with a network of contacts in all areas of education, employment, and new opportunities to integrate into Israeli society. In addition, the organization encourages discharged soldiers to serve as volunteers for other lone soldiers within the Ach Gadol framework, as this experience is a tool for empowerment and gives a sense of belonging to a supportive community.