A fascinating day-tour, highlighting some of SHEKEL’s exceptional initiatives and programs, was undertaken by SHEKEL president, Ms. Lihi Lapid, together with chairman, Haim Ariel, and various board members. Led by SHEKEL CEO, Clara Feldman, the tour focused on SHEKEL’s Jerusalem-based programs.
The delegation was impressed by their visit to two day-centers, for low-functioning adults on the autism spectrum. The ‘Merchavim’ center, located on kibbutz Ramat Rachel’s Ayal farm, comprises a moving program, based on an innovative farm-based model established by SHEKEL on moshav Kfar Shmuel. The daily activities in these centers revolve around work with animals and agriculture, as well as specialized enrichment activities, while the program emphasizes community inclusion.
Later in the day, the delegation visited an additional day-center, in Jerusalem’s Ramot Shlomo neighborhood, serving people with similar disabilities on the autism spectrum. The magnificent views and open outdoor spaces at the center, impart a sense of calm and peace to the center participants. The center operates with a strong vocational orientation, and the principle of community inclusion is emphasized in a variety of activities, including agricultural work with members of kibbutz Tzova, as well as a range of specialized courses and dog-walking, in partnership with the David Yellin College of Education.
The tour also included a visit to the Toni Eliashar SHEKEL Therapeutic Center, where board members learned of the acute challenges facing people with disabilities, and the dire need for trauma therapy and social and sexual education, for children and adults with special needs.
The day ended with a visit to the Talpiot branch of a special social enterprise, HaMezion - style and vintage second-hand chain. This colorful enterprise, which works in partnership with SHEKEL, includes 15 people with special needs who work in all areas of this vast up-beat store! Tens more enjoy interesting and challenging work as part of the general community, in the various HaMezion branches located in Jerusalem and Israel’s central region. www.hamezion.co.il/en/