‘By helping others, we helped ourselves:’: Volunteering and social integration of ex-Soviet immigrants in Israel

Natalia Khvorostianov, Larissa Remennick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent immigrants seldom join the ranks of volunteers for various social causes. Immigrants from former socialist countries have been shown to be particularly averse to organized forms of volunteering for reasons rooted in their past, including forced forms of collectivism imposed by the state. In this qualitative study, we explored the perceptions and practices of volunteering among ex-Soviet immigrants (mostly educated middle-aged women) who ran a project for the benefit of elderly. Our findings show that most volunteers chose causes targeting fellow immigrants, their resettlement and well-being, and were motivated by the wish to build co-ethnic support network and overcome marginalization in the Israeli society. Other volunteers were driven by the need for self-actualization in the context of underemployment and occupational downgrading. Personal empowerment and higher identification with the receiving society were the most salient outcomes of volunteering for our informants. We conclude that for some immigrants, volunteering can serve as a strategy of social integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-357
Number of pages23
JournalVoluntas
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • FSU immigrants
  • Integration
  • Social capital
  • Volunteering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management

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