Michaela Bercu (screenshot) Michaela Bercu (screenshot)

Israeli supermodel and actress Michaela Bercu developed an app that matches those who need help with people who can give it.

By Tsivya Fox-Dobuler, United With Israel

Israeli-born supermodel and actress Michaela Bercu, along with her husband, Israeli entrepreneur Ron Zuckerman, recently launched a new user-friendly app that unites those who need help with people who want to help.

Called Tribu, the app’s goal is to make volunteering easy. Users scroll through its interface to find causes or people to whom they would like to offer their services. In addition, the app offers a simple way to track volunteer hours.

This feature is particularly important in Israel, where volunteering has been part of the nation’s fabric  since the state’s founding.

A report in Israel4us stated that 32 percent of Israelis volunteer, explaining,”Some claim that volunteerism is very much a part of the Israeli ethic. Zionism, the movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland, created voluntary agencies serving different purposes while still being under the British rule.”

Prof. Yosef Katan, a member of the National Council for Volunteerism in Israel, wrote in an article for Israel4us that hundreds of thousands of people in Israel volunteer each year. “[I]t makes up an important part of Israeli society. Without it, important links in Israeli society wouldn’t be able to function normally and to fulfill their duties.”

Israeli high school students are some of the biggest users of the app. In order to graduate, students must give 90 hours of their time towards community service. The time tracking part of the app allows supervisors to keep up-to-date on their students’ volunteer hours.

Volunteering Hits Vogue’s Pages

Vogue magazine covered Bercu’s innovation. They wrote that Bercu has always had an interest in philanthropy. While earning her degree in drama therapy, she researched the social effects of volunteering.

“People want to help. Sometimes, you see those big ads [for volunteering] and you think it is so far away,” Vogue quotes the model as saying. “But even if you think about it in your own neighborhood, there are little things that you can do.”

Tribu’s first test-run involved an elderly woman in Tel Aviv who was in the hospital and had no family. The app put out a call for volunteers.

“Suddenly, she had so many visitors coming to take care of her,” Bercu told From The Grapevine. “It’s just a small thing to sit with someone who is alone so they are not so lonely. And it lightens up her life. And for the one who’s giving the service, it makes you feel wonderful. You change someone’s life.”

Studies from Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University and the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences have found that volunteering is good for one’s health, social life and society at large.

With all the good that volunteering brings, Bercu hopes that Tribu will become an international sensation.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much education [you have], when you do something for your heart, one good thing, one better thing, it helps a little bit,” Bercu told Vogue. “It’s real fulfillment.”

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