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 seven CILs across Israel. 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 the virtual CIL online. Through the online platform, people can partake in 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.7