JDC established Israel’s Centers for Independent Living (CIL) with the guiding belief that people with disabilities deserve a comfortable, welcoming place where they can come to learn, grow and socialize with other people just like them. The first CILs were developed in Jerusalem in 2003 and Beersheva in 2005—both in cooperation with local grassroots non-governmental organizations—based on the successful program model piloted in the United States. Each center is managed by professionals who are themselves disabled, allowing the CILs to maximize abilities instead of emphasizing disabilities.
Today, there are six CILs across Israel, with several more in the development and planning phase. Serving an average of 1,000 people a year, each center is a hub of activity that focuses on helping people with disabilities develop skills to lead independent lives and participate socially and professionally in Israeli society. A normal week at any CIL may include peer counseling and self-help groups, educational sessions to provide advice on accessing rights and services, advice on assistive devices, employment training, social change advocacy activities and, of course, lots of fun, social events for CIL members and people across the community.
Additionally, as thousands of Israelis with disabilities live simply too far from a CIL to participate, JDC launched Safety Net in 2014. Safety Net is an online platform offering interactive workshops, one-on-one chat rooms with trained professionals, social worker support, customized exercises classes and much more. CIL services are now available for all people with disabilities in Israel, no matter where they are. And it’s all easily accessible from www.cil.org.il.
For questions, contact Ido Granot at IdoG@jdc.org.
Milbat is an Israeli non-profit that has operated since 1981. The organization works to increase the level of independence, improve the quality of life, and facilitate the integration of disabled children, adults, and the elderly into their communities through the use of technology.1
Access Israel is a non-profit organization dedicated to making Israel an accessible place for all its citizens, including those living with an array of disabilities. The organization works tirelessly towards a future for Israel that offers equal opportunities and accessibility to all its citizens.2
AHVA, established in 1982, helps physically, emotionally and sensorially challenged people to develop their skills and talents, and become contributing, independent members of their communities. Located in downtown Haifa, AHVA serves individuals from northern Israel and throughout the country. The vast majority of AHVA administrators, teachers and group leaders are themselves specially challenged.3
Bekol, established in 1997, is a unique self-help association founded and directed by people with hearing loss. It’s the only organization in Israel that works to integrate hard-of-hearing adults (ages 18 and up) into the general society by addressing problems of legislation, accessibility, and work. Bekol is managed by a dedicated, professional staff that includes certified hearing care providers, social workers and over 100 professionally-trained volunteers, who all promote accessibility and equality for the hearing impaired.4
Disability Now is the UK’s leading website for, about, and by disabled people. It accurately reflects and presents the lives, experiences, views, opinions, and lifestyle choices of disabled people, all of which are often misrepresented in mainstream media. The site also speaks out on those whose actions or policies affect disabled people. Disability Now additionally provides a chance for disabled journalists and writers to be heard on a large, international platform.5
The Association for Equality and Justice for Persons with Disabilities has established a Center for Independent Living for the physically challenged in and around Beersheva. The Center operates all the projects and services offered to members of the Association, including individual treatment, support groups, educational courses, health for women with disabilities, craft workshops, and promoting accessibility in public places for the physically challenged.6