“I Felt As if I Was Alone in the World”

ילדה עם עיניים מכוסות בונה בקוביות Girl with blindfold builds with blocks

ADI’s pioneering Tikkun Olam initiative exposes tens of thousands of Israeli students to people with disabilities and to the concept and principles of accessibility. The national educational program, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, imparts the importance of acceptance and inclusion through lectures, workshops and hands-on volunteering opportunities.

Shifting into gear as the new school year began, Tikkun Olam programs targeted students of all ages.

Ninth-grade students from the Merhavim High School joined the 80 employees with disabilities at the ADI Ofakim Vocational Center Beit HaYozter, working side-by-side to package esrogs for the upcoming holiday of Sukkot. Students also participated in art and agricultural workshops, learning first-hand about the Negev center’s rehabilitation activities.

Up north, first- and second-grade students from the Yokneam Elementary School of Arts were exposed to challenges facing people with disabilities through game-playing activities during which various paraphernalia such as oversized gloves, blindfolds and earplugs simulated physical disabilities.

In post-activity discussion groups, the young children voiced their sentiments, aptly putting into words what it felt like to when sensory abilities were restricted.

“With headphones over my ears to limit my hearing, I felt as if I was alone in the world,” said Manur.

With eyes and ears covered, Olivia commented that, “I felt strange . . . I didn’t know were to go. I took very small steps.” Naama said she felt, “that there is no sound in the world,” and Shira remarked that, “even though we were outside in the yard, I felt as if I was in a closed, sealed off place.”

The goal of every educational institution is to educate the next generation. ADI’s Tikkun Olam program believes that by educating children from the youngest ages to acceptance and inclusion, we are paving the way to a better, more understanding and more accepting society for all.

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