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We Have a New Home at the Heart of Nes-Ziona    

What began 21 years ago as an apartment for training and life skills, has become a permanent home for people with IDD with the initiative of Shikmim Association and their parents. The building consists of 730 square meters, and is home to 18 tenants between the ages of 23 and 40, characterized by mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, who are independent and at a high functioning level. Located in the center of old Nes-Ziona, at the heart of the community, near many cultural centers and by this enabling the tenants optimal integration in the community-social sphere


The Shalem Fund grants construction and equipment for frameworks in the community

 



Toddlers Deserve the Best- Rehabilitation Daycare Center "Michal" for Toddlers in Holon    

Michal Center - communication rehabilitation and daycare, opened in Holon and is managed by Chimes Association Israel. Before the center was opened approximately 50 toddlers were driven to various facilities outside of the city. The daycare center caters for toddlers with intellectual, developmental disabilities and autism, aged from 6 months to 3 years, who receive a therapeutic educational daily schedule, which includes a personal rehabilitation plan developed by the center’s professional staff in collaboration with the parents. The toddlers’ families are an integral part of their children’s development and progress, and they receive training from the paramedical staff in order to create a therapeutic continuum at home, as well as, access to support groups, guidance and consultation.

The daycare center is named after Michal, Dina Becker’s daughter, who has worked for many years as head of the Rehabilitation Department at the Holon municipality. Dina has managed the Prat Association in Holon, and when the association shut down she donated the association’s funds to finance the establishment of the daycare center. The welfare directors in the city, social worker Tova Bar-Lev and her replacement, social worker Iris Tzur, have invested great efforts in finding an appropriate structure, and have driven the establishment of the center with the support of the municipality, and funding from the National Insurance

The Shalem Fund made a grant for the renovation and equipment of the center

 



My Brother is Special” – a Seminar on Siblings with Special Needs in Netanya"    

The Department of Welfare and Social Services in Netanya and the Department of Psychological Services, in partnership with the Shalem Fund, held a joint seminar, in May this year addressing the issues of siblings in families with children with special needs. The seminar held in the presence of Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg introduced the special challenges faced by healthy children with siblings or parents who suffer from a chronic disease or disability.  These include challenges and the gains alongside the different complex situations that siblings have to deal with

 

At the entrance to the seminar's hall there was an exhibition entitled “Myself, My Brother and the Camera”, a unique photographic exhibition of 10 photographs taken by children with special needs and their siblings, as part of a photo-therapy group
 
In addition, the Lev HaMerkaz choir performed, the choir being composed of children with special needs and their siblings from Kiryat Gat. There was also a lecture about siblings, the use of different therapeutic approaches and more. The seminar concluded with a lecture given by Hagit Ron-Rabinovitch, a mother of four, whose eldest son 20-year-old Ilay, was diagnosed with autistism at the age of two, followed by a documentary film called “I Have a Special Brother” she has produced together with Eyal Rubinstein

The Shalem Fund awarded a grant and supported this seminar

 



Promoting safe and good transportation: a day with the drivers and the carers who accompany children and adults with disabilities    

Following an unusual event during transportation in Qalansawe, The Shalem Fund realized the importance of training and was involved in an awareness rising day with drivers in the Arab sector. The goals of the day were to provide information and emphasize the importance of the positive impact that can be achieved by drivers and carers working with special needs populations of all levels of functioning. The event which took place in March this year in Qalansawe was attended by approximately 200 drivers from 7 Arab towns. The seminar is a first-of-its-kind in the region in general, and in the Arab society in particular
 
The success of the day was thanks to the collaboration of welfare and education managers and the staff from municipalities and towns in the region, the Regional supervisors, Beit Issie Shapiro and the Shalem Foundation
Among the issues presented were valuing a person with intellectual and developmental disabilities, safe transportation, the Law for the Helpless and the duty of reporting. The discussion of these significant subjects led to exposures, reflection and joint brainstorming for new approaches
 
Zmirawi Wiam – social worker and welfare officer for intellectual and developmental disabilities in Qalansawe, was a key partner in the planning of the seminar with Latifah Mansur, district supervisor of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Social Affairs, stated that : knowledge is power and is the key for change, the seminar greatly contributed to changing attitudes which will contribute to a change of behavior towards a person with special needs. The day lead to increased knowledge in this field and has "opened eyes" to the needs of the entire population with special needs, and for the services provided to them. In addition, the seminar resulted viewing others with acceptance and respect, re-emphasizing to professionals, carers and drivers, that respect and responsibility are obligatory for them in their contact with students and toddlers with special needs, their families and supervisors
 

The Shalem Fund assisted in planning and financing this seminar 

 



Growing Wings – Closing Event of the Self-Advocating Course at the Halichot Beit-Yaakov Seminary in Modi’in Illit    

 “Each of us has their own wings, we have learned to get to know them and fly with them”. This was how one student summarized the course “Self-Advocating for People with developmental intellectual disabilities” at the Halichot Beit-Yaakov Seminary in Modi’in Illit. This course, at the joint initiative of the Shalem Fund and the Halichot Beit-Yaakov Seminary in Modi’in Illit, is a ground-breaking course, and this is the first time a course such as this one is held in an orthodox education center. The course was attended by about twenty education workers from the fields of regular and special education

 

The course, its goals and content, were carefully selected and adapted to the lifestyle, religious worldview and unique challenges of this group. Among others, the course included religious lections dealing with issues of giving out of respect and the value of a person as a person, concepts in advocating such as free choice, autonomy and realization of rights took on a different meaning adapted to the community dialogue, and direct meetings with personal stories took place. Attorney Haya Gershoni coordinated the course on behalf of the seminary. During the summarizing meeting, the students shared their insights from the course as well as the personal growth they experienced - in aliases
 
Shifra: Using the awareness to rights I referred my relative to receive a psychologist’s counseling free of charge, when the religious centers were not aware of this option, and since then they have used this for other students as well
 
Nava: I drew personal conclusions from the course. I learned to clarify the salary I deserve, and in fact – to advocate for myself
 

The insight that consolidates the array was provided by Sarah: I no longer see the field of disabilities as black and white, integration or separation, normative or irregular. I see that there are many shades of gray



Familiarizing with the World of developmental intellectual disabilities” – National Seminar on behalf of the Shalem Fund at the Kibbutzim College for People Working in Economy, Administration and Secretariats"    

 In the beginning of March, 20 participants working in economy, secretariats and administration from all over Israel went on a tour as part of the seminar “Familiarizing with the World of developmental intellectual disabilities”. The seminar was held at the Kibbutzim College on behalf of the Shalem Fund. The tour included a visit to two centers operated by the Amichai Association, at the Yevulim Ecological Farm, in Kfar Malal and the Amichai Home in Hod HaSharon. At the Yevulim Ecological Farm, in Kfar Malal, the participants toured between the trees and plant beds, learned about a recycling and sustainability project and heard from the workers about the experience of working at such a unique place. At the Amichai Home in Hod HaSharon they met with the CEO of the Amichai Association, Keren Shushan. One participant said: “We received a fascinating tour, a glimpse of the community work, the creative solutions they create for the members and the unique services they have: Snoezelen, greenhouse, virtual reality room, gym, and at the end of the tour we ate at the Cofix branch operating on site”

This is the first year that the Kibbutzim College is preforming training seminars on the behalf of the Shalem Fund. In addition to this seminar, the College also holds two other seminars: Familiarizing with developmental intellectual disabilities for service year volunteers in Mevaseret Zion and Familiarizing with the Sexual and Social Development of People with developmental intellectual disabilities, intended for instructors and caretakers in adult day care centers
 

The Shalem Fund is partner to initiating the seminars along with the National and District Supervision at the Department of Persons with developmental intellectual disabilities, the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services, and finances them



Getting Connected in Ashkelon! The Tri-Annual Convention of the Shalem Fund for Coordinators, Social Workers and Care Center Managers in the Field of Developmental Intellectual Disabilities    

 The “Connected” convention is, as the name suggests, a connection between different content worlds and professionals from all over Israel, dealing with developmental intellectual disabilities. This year, the convention was held in Ashkelon, in an experiential framework rich of inspirational contents which provided a glimpse into new and interesting content worlds and slightly different thinking. The convention, constructed in collaboration with professionals from the authorities and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, was organized by the Department of Training at the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel. The participants’ cost was greatly subsidized by the Shalem Fund as well as by Homesh Association, and the Social Workers Union for its members. 100 professionals from all over Israel were exposed to various contents over the course of two days, and experienced various workshops

 

The convention also featured the premiere performance of “Beyond the Voice”, a choir consisting people with and without disabilities, which constitutes an innovative model for integration and a real and equal meeting place for people who share the love for singing and music. The choir was created by the Shalem Fund in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services and the National Insurance Institute. The crowd’s responses were emotionally warm and authentic and supported the choir members in understanding how inspirational they are. Great thought was invested in the convention in quality contents out of respect and appraisal for workers who work in and direct and daily contact with populations of people with developmental intellectual disabilities. The convention constitutes a professional meeting, recharging batteries and assisting in strengthening abilities and encouraging achievements and goal setting both as people and as professionals
 

The Shalem Fund initiates and subsidizes the convention, which has become a professional tradition

 



Seminar for Professionals in the Field of Treating Persons with Developmental Intellectual Disabilities – Southern District    

 In recent years, we have witnessed great development in the field of legislation and services provided for people with developmental intellectual disabilities, emphasizing increasing familial strength. In January this year, a seminar was held in Beer-Sheva in the southern district, intended to expand the reference circle for a person with developmental intellectual disabilities in the familial and social context, by presenting the most updated work procedures and discussing the role of the social worker and professionals in implementing and developing this policy. 80 professionals from the southern district participated in this seminar, including: social workers from social affairs and social services departments, disabilities coordinators and department manager in the social affairs and social services divisions, and managers of community and residential centers

 

A central part of this seminar was devoted to the lecture “the Diamond Insight” by Haya and Tzachi Dichner, a mother with developmental intellectual disabilities and her son, dealing with the border between helping and patronage, the topic of marriage and having children, and a collection of insights from her joint journey. In addition, the following lectures were held: “Beyond the Community” by Mati Cohen, national supervisor for the integration of tenants in the community, “Procedure of Placement in Foster Care for Children Until the Age of Eight and the Foster Care Law” by Aryeh Shemesh, national supervisor in the field of foster care and preschoolers. Sher Avi Hagit, director of the Summit branch in Beer-Sheva, presented the association’s work in the field of disabilities. The day was closed with Vivian Azran, the service manager, who presented updates and the new work procedures

The Shalem Fund was partner in planning the day and assisted in financing it

 



The Therapeutic Relationship Covenant” at the International Down’s Syndrome Convention"    

 The Down’s Syndrome awareness day is held all over the world on March 21. On this day, for the tenth year in a row, the International Down’s Syndrome Convention was held at the Shalva National Center in Jerusalem

 

This year, the convention dealt with the “Therapeutic Relationship Covenant”. About 400 participants from all over Israel enjoyed a variety of fascinating lectures, including: “The Envoy and the Mission” – a lecture about the staff notifying the parents that their child was born with Down’s Syndrome, presented by social worker Goldi Maranes, coordinator of the field of mother and child at the Department of Social Work, Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem. “The Integration in Shalva Kindergartens”, presented by Batya Boda, coordinator of kindergartens at Shalva, and Tehila Freundlich, pedagogical instructor. In addition, Dr. Ayelet Gur, post-doctorate student in the disability project at the Harvard Medical School, presented her lecture on: “The Family and Individual with Disabilities, Initial Findings from a Study in Israel”. The study of households with a child or adult with intellectual disabilities – head researcher: Prof. Arik Rimerman, Research Authority at the University of Haifa, partnered by the Shalem Fund and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services
 
During the convention, the participants enjoyed a performance by the group “the Pace of Peace”, which left the audience emotional and teary, and the exhibition “Glance of Love” – photographs of parents and their children with disabilities, incorporated in the stories behind the photographs. The exhibition curator is Miki Arnon, director of education and training at the Shekel Association. A family panel was held at the end of the convention hosted by Aryeh Shemesh, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, and Liat Rahat, director of rehabilitation therapeutic educational programs at Shalva. The parents who participated in the panel delivered the convention’s message from a personal aspect. To them, the journey as a family was intensified due to a meeting with an enabling therapeutic person, and in other words: the therapeutic relationship covenant
 

The convention contents were assembled by the staff of the scientific committee: Prof. Yoav Marik, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, Dr. Ariel Tenenbaum, Hadassah Medical Center, Riva Muskal, chairwoman of the Shalem Fund, Nili Ben-Dor, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, Sarit Rachamim, the Jerusalem municipality, and Liron Benisti, director of research and development at Shalva

 



Only If We Learn to Accept the People Different from Us Will the World Become a Better Place– Social Volunteering with Special People    

Volunteering is one of the most important levels in creating a quality and integrating society. Volunteering with people with intellectual disabilities is also socially important, and alongside the challenges it poses, it grants both sides, the contributor and the contributed, great satisfaction and excitement.


Eden Aburokan, a 15-year-old girl from Haifa, volunteers with the older children at Gan HaYeled in Haifa, and shares her experiences:

“For years I didn’t ascribe importance to people who need support, assistance and social integration in normative frameworks in the community. Meeting the joint theatre group of the older children at Gan HaYeled and students from Reut and Alliance has taught me that people with special needs need us. It is true that they are different, think slower, but they are certainly similar to us in their thoughts and needs. At the beginning, I wasn’t excited about volunteering at Gan HaYeled. I thought it would be difficult for me, but after getting to know these special people, I saw another world of colors and love. I understood that they need us just as we need them. They taught me what love is and how big it can be. I met people full of warmth and endless joy. They truly want to be friends with everyone, but we are the ones who put a separating line between us and them. The amazing experience I had this year made me understand that only on the day when people are willing to accept people who are different from them, will be world become a better place to live in. I fully support integrating people with special needs in the community, I think it is a decree. At the end of the day we are all equal people and we need company. They need us and the normative equal society, which includes everyone with every person’s different statuses