Sponsorship of Transitional Programs for High School Students with Special Needs
SHEKEL-Community Services for People with Special Needs facilitates comprehensive inclusion for people with disabilities by providing independent housing within the community, meaningful employment, accessibility solutions, and therapeutic and leisure activities. Annually SHEKEL cares for over 8,000 children and adults with physical, emotional, and mental disabilities from all sectors of Israeli society. SHEKEL's programs have trained thousands of people with various disabilities to comfortably withstand the pressures of the workforce while gaining necessary skills to perform adequately at their jobs.
The IAJF supported SHEKEL's Transition Program that provides vocational skills for students aged 18-21 in special education high schools. The Program addresses the high numbers of working-age, unemployed Israelis with special needs by providing job training and placement in competitive markets following graduation.
Sponsorship of Weekend Activities for Handicapped Children
IAJF believes in working toward full integration of people with special needs into the community. The House of Wheels serves children, youth and young adults who suffer from cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and other debilitating illnesses. Spread throughout Israel, HOW volunteers act with boundless dedication to help physically handicapped young people develop life and social skills.
IAJF sponsored weekend group activities, where 75 participants and an equal number of volunteer counselors enjoy a full weekend of activities including a sleepover in a family atmosphere. The program enriches the participants' lives, enhances their capabilities and provides their families with a weekend of rest knowing their children are in a supportive and embracing environment.
Through House of Wheels, IAJF provided meaningful life opportunities for these children, proving to them that they have the ability to overcome their disabilities.
Hydrotherapy Pool for Disabled IDF Veterans
For over 50,000 Zahal disabled veterans and victims of terror attacks, Beit Halochem serves as a second home. The Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization (ZDVO) is dedicated to the reintegration of wounded veterans into Israeli society. ZDVO centers provide rehabilitation treatment, sports, cultural and leisure activities and recreation for its members and their families - a place for the disabled to maintain physical fitness and emotional wellbeing, and to regain the dignity and quality of life that they so richly deserve.
The IAJF supported the construction of the new Hydrotherapy pool at Beit Halochem Tel Aviv center. Hydrotherapy is a vitally important and crucial treatment, given for pain management, rehabilitation and recovery - essentially a life sustaining treatment of veterans suffering from severe disabilities, and severe back and head injuries. Until recently, all hydrotherapy treatments took place in a corner of a swimming pool, a problematic situation for both swimmers and vets receiving hydrotherapy. With the new pool, the number of veterans who can receive this essential treatment doubles.
Members of the IAJF board visited Beit Halochem Tel Aviv in June 2015 and met with ZDVO members and disabled veterans. During a brief tour of the facilities, the delegation saw a wheelchair basketball team in training, table-tennis play and fitness center workouts. IAJF members also visited the Physical Therapy Center and learned about therapeutic treatments available to disabled veterans. The visit ended with a viewing of the renovation of the Olympic swimming pool and the construction of the state-of-the-art Hydrotherapy Pool supported by the IAJF. Lives of many disabled veterans are about to greatly improve physically, emotionally and morally.
|IAJF board members, Beit Halochem member Nati Hakshur and his mother, Dr. Shlomo Batsia, ZDVO Executive Director (far right)
||Construction site of the new Hydrotherapy Pool in Beit Halochem Tel Aviv supported by the IAJF
Support for Individuals with Special Needs
One out of every hundred children in Israel is born mentally retarded to some degree. Some of these children grow up to become a part of society or live at its edges, perhaps without the general public being aware of it.
AKIM Israel is the largest and most comprehensive provider of programs and services for the developmentally disabled population, caring for 34,500 children, teenagers, adults, and senior citizens, as well as their family members, throughout Israel.
Hand in hand with 2,000 volunteers, the 500 devoted workers of AKIM Israel operate: group and senior homes, providing supervised accommodation for moderately to severely intellectually and developmentally disabled persons; community-based housing which promotes living independently with some supervision and support; daycare centers for adults suffering from severe cognitive disabilities; providing employment opportunities and several work transition programs to approximately 1,000 people with minor developmental and intellectual disabilities; leisure clubs and afternoon activities for all ages; annual vacations and summer camps; public awareness and community and legal advocacy; culture, education and sport activities; guardianship for those abandoned or orphaned.
AKIM ISRAEL aspires to enable the mentally challenged person's self-realization as a part of an open and tolerant society. IAJF's support helps AKIM to improve the quality of the day to day life of these special individuals and to share a common vision of promoting the integration of people with disabilities in the community and the society at large. An Inclusive Society is a Strong Society.
IAJF Supports Rehabilitation Day Care Center for Autistic Infants
Research shows that early and intensive intervention is immensely
effective in advancing the functioning of children within the Autistic
spectrum. Autism can be diagnosed today as early as 12 -18 months of
age. It is therefore important to create rehabilitation day care centers
for infants where they can be enrolled immediately after the diagnosis.
Alut establishes rehabilitation day care centers for infants ("Alutafs")
of ages 18 months to 3 years old in order to serve two basic needs,
the need for early intervention, and the need for concentration of two
resources, knowledge and multi-disciplinary staging. The purpose
of the day care centers is to advance each child to his/her maximum
potential functioning level, to enable the children to integrate in the
normative educational system and to provide the necessary basis for
special education schools for those children that will not assimilate in
the normative system.
IAJF funded the professional provision of treatments at the new Alutaf
in Modi'in, a Rehabilitation Day Care Center that serves 14 infants
with autism. It operates 6 days a week, 11.5 months a year. By enabling
the necessary treatments, IAJF ensured the advancement of these
children during the most critical period of their lives.
IAJF Supports the 2012 Paralympic Games
All eyes turned toward London for the Summer Olympics on July 27, 2012. However, a lesser-publicized
event was held in London shortly after this competition: the Paralympic Games. These games closely mirror
the Olympics, as they are international in scope and multi-event sport competitions. The difference? Athletes
with physical disabilities compete against one another.
The 2012 Paralympic Games was the biggest ever, featuring 4,200 participants from 160 countries competing
in 20 different sports. The first games were held in 1960 and this year was the fifteenth competition, started
on August 29th and ended on September 9th. Israel, as a competing nation won many medals largely
due to the level of training and support given to its Paralympic athletes. Beit Halochem-Friends of Israel
Disabled Veterans (FIDV) is a major reason. Beit Halochem is committed to caring for Israeli servicemen
and women who have been wounded in the line of duty and are now disabled. Its five state-of-the-art
rehabilitation centers throughout Israel offer physical therapy, medical treatment, and many sports, social,
family and cultural activities.
IAJF's contribution was directed towards the preparation of Beit Halochem disabled athletes for the
Paralympics Games. This year 12 war disabled and 4 disabled civilians, some paralyzed in both hands and
both legs participated in sailing, rowing, shooting, swimming, hand bike, tennis wheelchair, and table tennis.
IAJF has been a steadfast supporter and understood FIDV's mission to assist disabled Israeli veterans regain
control of their lives in an atmosphere of encouragement and deep appreciation.
As the London 2012 Paralympic Games come to a close, the Israeli Delegation has won 8 medals bringing
much pride to the State of Israel and to the Zahal Disabled Veterans.
- Noam Gershony won the Gold Medal in wheelchair tennis
- Shraga Weinberg and Noam Gershony finished third in the tennis doubles tournament
- Swimmer Inbal Pezaro won 3 Bronze Medals in 50, 100 and 200 metres free style
- Swimmer Itzik Mamistalov won the Bronze Medal in 200 metres free style
- Sharpshooter Doron Shaziri won a Silver Medal
- Hand cyclist Kobi Leon won the Silver Medal, finishing second in the 16-kilometer race
Noam Gershoni, a Former Pilot and Gold Medal Winner at the Paralympics
Noam Gershoni, formerly an Apache Helicopter pilot and a wheelchair tennis
player won a gold medal at the 2012 London Paralympics. During the Second
Lebanon War, Gershoni was severely wounded in his spinal cord and both arms and
legs when the helicopter he was flying crashed.
He suffered multiple fractures in all of his body. After three weeks, in the hospital, he
was transferred to a Rehabilitation Center for the next six months. After his release,
he continued rehab for a year. Today, he still frequents the center twice a week.
28 years old Gershoni was taken by the sport when he first visited Tel-Aviv
Beit Halochem four years ago. Playing on a wheelchair, Gershoni is
categorized as a 'Quad', which includes players with varying degrees of
severe disability. His breakthrough came during this past year when
he beat Silver Medalists from the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
He also won an international tournament held in Israel.
"Noam stood out from the very first of his training
sessions", says his coach. "He trains hard three times a
week, works out at the Fitness Hall in addition to his
physiotherapy sessions and improves constantly".
Recently, he won a tournament in the Czech Republic.
Noam continued his winning streak and has since
beaten the No. 1 in the world this past spring. Today
he is ranked amongst the top 4 in the world and is
currently competing in the US Open. His latest
achievement at the 2012 Paralympics Games brought
great pride to Israel.