To mark Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (#JDAIM), ADI (adi-israel.org), Israel’s most comprehensive provider of residential and rehabilitative care for individuals with severe disabilities, launched ‘ADI’s Make the Change Challenge,’ an accessible-design contest for students in the United States and Canada that spotlights the inaccessibility of our world and our communal responsibility to make a change.
With a grand prize of $1,000, this exciting new element of the organization’s ‘ADI Bechinuch’ (literally ‘ADI in Education’) disability-inclusion programming aims to raise awareness and encourage students grades 4-12 to open their hearts and minds to the needs, viewpoints and experiences of the disability community.
“For years, ADI’s culture of kindness, compassion and empathy has paved the way for disability inclusion in Israel, and our ADI Bechinuch programming allows us to take our advocacy to the next level by making a difference for individuals with disabilities around the globe,” said Elie Klein, ADI’s director of development for the U.S. and Canada.
“While this new STEM contest could potentially inspire the creation of the next great accessible design solution, our true objective is to encourage the next generation of Jewish leaders to be thoughtful, sympathetic and see the world through the eyes of others, because we can’t promote real societal change towards individuals with disabilities without first acknowledging our shared humanity.”
ADI’s Make the Change Challenge asks participants to emulate the inventors and designers of the maker movement and harness the power of “selfless STEM,” hacking the modern world to create new devices and improve existing ones in an effort to help people with disabilities overcome the challenges that hinder their independence and inclusion.
Students can choose to develop original designs for devices that would solve challenges faced by their own friends or family members with visible or invisible disabilities, issues that make local public areas inaccessible to individuals with disabilities, or well-documented global accessibility challenges. While participants are not required to develop prototypes, they must prepare presentations that clearly explain how their original solutions would solve the persistent accessibility issues they choose to tackle.
All contest entries received by the February 24 deadline will be judged by ADI’s panel of experts, including members of ADI’s professional staff, innovation journalists, and specialists in the field of accessible design. On February 28, the top five finalists will participate in a private Zoom event, and the winner will be presented with the $1,000 grand prize, a gift from the Avraham and Esther Klein Young Entrepreneurs Fund.
“As the entries continue to roll in throughout JDAIM, we are blown away by the consideration and creativity of our student participants, the newest members of the maker movement,” said Klein. “With innovations like a hands-free shower system that utilizes foot pedals to afford people without use of their arms the dignity and independence of maintaining their own cleanliness; eyeglasses with a built-in GPS navigation system for people with visual impairment; and a wheelchair equipped with wheels that adapt to different surfaces, among others; it’s clear that we have taken a giant step towards awareness and are on our way to creating a better and more caring world.”
ADI (formerly ALEH Jerusalem and ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran) empowers hundreds of Israel’s most vulnerable citizens—children, adolescents and adults with severe disabilities—to advance well beyond their initial prognoses and live happy, dignified and meaningful lives. ADI also provides the highest-level rehabilitative care for all and is laying the groundwork for the establishment of fully inclusive communities across the country.