Better together


Real change begins with education


Since its establishment in 1982, ALEH has provided Israeli children with severe complex disabilities with the best available care and the opportunity to develop to their fullest potentials. Thanks to ALEH's continuum of loving care from infancy and childhood through adulthood, residents advance well beyond their initial prognoses and live happy, dignified, and meaningful lives.

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How it Works


At every participating school, Tikkun Olam programming begins with a lecture by a disability care professional who introduces the students to the various types of disabilities, the concept of accessibility, and the impact of inclusion on society at large. Students then participate in a variety of workshops, such as:


Videos

Informational videos about specific visible and invisible disabilities

Hands-On

Hands-on “disability experiences” – navigating an obstacle course in wheelchairs, walking the school grounds with blindfolds and canes, experiencing a sensory overload, and conversing in sign language while wearing noise-cancelling headphones

Meetings

Meetings with teenagers and adults with disabilities who explain how they navigate their worlds on a daily basis


About Tikkun Olam


Since its establishment in 1982, ALEH has provided Israeli children with severe complex disabilities with the best available care and the opportunity to develop to their fullest potentials. Thanks to ALEH's continuum of loving care from infancy and childhood through adulthood, residents advance well beyond their initial prognoses and live happy, dignified, and meaningful lives.

In 2016, seeking to impact the public on an even greater scale and make a real difference for individuals with disabilities well beyond the walls of its residential facilities, ALEH joined forces with Israel’s Ministry of Education to create the “Tikkun Olam” project, an initiative focused on educating the next generation of leaders about disability inclusion.

“Tikkun Olam” (literally “Repairing the World”) is an experiential education program that exposes Israeli high school students to peers with disabilities and imparts the importance of acceptance and inclusion through lectures, workshops and hands-on volunteering opportunities. Geared towards students entering the ninth grade, the program works to bring about a change in societal attitude towards individuals with disabilities through youth leadership and community engagement.

In its first year, more than 10,000 Israeli students from 60 schools participated in the program, leading to a noticeable spike in youth-led volunteerism and social activism initiatives.

Now in its second year, Tikkun Olam will utilize its trademark “hands-on” approach, as well as eLearning and social media platforms, to reach 100,000 students – every ninth grader in the country.


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New partners are always welcome. With greater numbers comes greater impact.

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Following the educational seminars at their respective schools, classes are invited to take part in “field activities,” opportunities to assist peers with disabilities in fun and educational settings, in the hopes that these outings will serve as a springboard for youth-led volunteerism and social activism among the student participants.


To motivate students, Tikkun Olam frames the development of these inclusion projects as an inter-school competition, throughout which schools can earn ‘social sensitivity’ points. Examples of projects that would earn social sensitivity points include:

  • Accessible group hikes together with students with disabilities
  • Running with individuals with disabilities in a municipal marathon
  • Inclusive get-togethers in students’ homes
  • School-based activities that include students with disabilities
  • Participation in a Tikkun Olam march in one of five locations throughout the country

Teachers also incorporate relevant inclusion-focused lessons into their classroom curriculum and help the class create a “Tikkun Olam Wall” in the school to publicize their involvement in the program.

At the end of the school year, a Social Sensitivity Certificate is awarded to each school, citing the number of points they accumulated.

As the trailblazing program continues to gain momentum, it will effectively change the national and global attitude towards individuals with disabilities and create a solid educational and communal foundation upon which to build a more caring and inclusive society.


Programming


The multi-stage Tikkun Olam program was designed with the goal of motivating students to carry out significant social projects through recognition of its inherent value and meaning, without the need for persuasion from their educators or the project’s professional staff. While some of the projects take place within the participating schools, the ultimate goal is for students to internalize the messages of inclusion, acceptance and mutual responsibility and utilize their innate talents, skills and influence to develop inclusive programming outside of school – in their communities and beyond.

  • Visiting Lecturers

    Students meet with key figures in Israeli society who have disabilities or are involved with the national disability inclusion movement in order to provide personal perspectives and make the subject matter more relatable.

  • Group Discussions

    Students watch a play concerning disabilities and inclusion, after which they engage in a moderated group discussion.

  • Facility Tours

    Students tour facilities dedicated to caring for individuals with severe complex disabilities (usually ALEH centers) in order to expose them to the complexities of life with a disability.

  • Community Initiative

    As part of the students’ social matriculation requirements, each cohort, class or group develops a disability inclusion project for their respective communities. Students who cannot create their own projects are given the option to volunteer at special events for individuals with disabilities organized by local organizations.

  • Nationwide Marches

    The program concludes with a week of marches throughout Israel: five marches on subsequent days in locations from the north to the south of the country. Participating students march together with individuals with disabilities from their area, many of whom they already know and have developed relationships with/have run special programs for.

  • Coordinator Training

    Each participating school selects a programming coordinator to undergo intensive training, including a primer on accessibility and inclusion and an overview of the curriculum.

  • Preliminary School Tour and Evaluations

    Each participating school is evaluated for accessibility and educational staff are briefed regarding program expectations.

  • Teacher Training

    Teachers at participating schools are introduced to the concepts of accessibility and inclusion via the same workshops that their students will experience later. This allows them to familiarize themselves with the program’s objectives and the implementation of the various activities, so they can better support their students’ experiences.

  • In-Class Workshops and Journal

    Teachers receive pedagogic materials to prepare students for the projects. The materials are prepared by ALEH’s staff and National Service volunteers and distributed to the teachers. In addition, each participating student is presented with a special journal in which he/she is to record his/her feelings and experiences throughout the program. Teachers will make use of the journals during the workshops.

  • Experiential Workshops

    Students participate in an experiential workshop that includes meeting and interacting with individuals with disabilities. The experience is intended to expose the students to the daily challenges faced by their peers with disabilities.


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Participant Testimonies


“The first time I came to volunteer I was in shock. I didn’t know what I was doing there. After a few weeks of volunteering, I now understand that these children are a part of me. Now it is hard for me to leave.”


Efrat - Grade 10

“Volunteering has transformed me into a better person, a more sensitive and caring person; I feel that I have gained so much more than I have given.”


Yuval - Grade 10

“Like most high school students, I was very self-centered. I only cared about personal satisfaction and my own achievement. But I have since realized that giving of myself and loving unconditionally is not only the key to my own happiness, but the key to moving our society forward. I can see the changes in the students as they learn about inclusion and begin to understand why giving is so much better that receiving. By teaching them these lessons while they are young and providing them with these important growth experiences before they become self-absorbed, we will change Israeli society for the better.”


Avi Ben-Torah - National Service Volunteer assisting with the Tikkun Olam program at ALEH’s rehabilitative village in the Negev

Real Impact


The excitement and willingness of participating students to develop their own inclusive programming has far exceeded expectations. In less than two years, dozens of student-run programs have inspired communities and made a real impact on Israeli society. A few of the stand-outs include:

After volunteering at the Harim School for Special Needs in Givat Ada, students from the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa made a plan to run the 2.5 kilometer race at the Haifa Half-Marathon Event together with their new friends. Led by their physical education teacher, 50 Hebrew Reali School students ran the race with 20 students from the Harim School. One student even ran while singing in order to provide encouragement to a young man named Rafi who can only communicate through song.

Close to 400 ninth graders from the Interdisciplinary High School in Hadera accompanied students from the Neve Etgar School for Children with Special Needs in Kibbutz Lehavot Haviva for a Tu B’Shvat tree-planting activity. While planting saplings and enjoying seasonal fruits together, the two groups of students formed strong bonds, and the classes from Hadera decided that they wanted to do more. In the days since, they have visited Kibbutz Lehavot Haviva to run a music circle and craft activities on their own initiative.


To mark Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) and celebrate Purim, the students at Yeshivat Bnei Akiva Lapid in Modiin organized a fully-accessible Purim carnival, where 80 students from the Harim School for Special Needs were the guests of honor


Ninth graders from the Modi'in Dalet School accompanied students with severe complex disabilities on a trip to Eilat. Working with Paratrek, a non-profit that makes nature accessible to individuals with disabilities, the students drove, navigated, and even carried the “trekkers,” adapted wheelchairs, up and down mountains and along the Gishron Stream, ensuring the most enjoyable experience possible for their peers


Minister of Education Naftali Bennett presented students from the Yanuh-Jat Junior High School with the national award for ‘Outstanding Social Involvement’ to recognize their truly exceptional disability inclusion initiatives, including the development of a web series that explains inclusion and accessibility concepts in six different languages: Hebrew, Arabic, English, French, Russian and Yiddish.


Partners


A joint-initiative of ALEH and Israel’s Ministry of Education, Tikkun Olam was developed and is overseen by:

Major General Doron Almog


Chairman of ALEH Negev-Nahalat-Eran

Mr. Naftali Bennett


Israeli Minister of Education

Avi Wortzman


Director General of ALEH’s rehabilitative village in the Negev (ALEH Negev-Nahalat-Eran)

To increase Tikkun Olam’s geographic reach and professional depth, ALEH partnered with non-profit organizations Makom L’Kulam (“A Place for Everyone”) and Negishut Yisrael (“Access Israel”), both leading voices in the fight for disability rights in Israel. Together, the three organizations have traversed the country, bringing specially-designed educational modules to secular and religious schools across Israel.


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If you would like to get involved, please use the contact form and we will get back to you. Whether you are an individual or organisation, we'd love to hear from you.