Hi. I’m Tunusau Adya. I graduated three months ago from Mechinat Lavi in Or Yehuda through Shibolim. I was at mechina for a year-and-a-half, and today I’m working as a counselor at the mechina and after-school clubs until I’m drafted, with the help of God and mentorship from Migdal Or, where they help me at every stage and want me to serve with meaning. I arrived at the mechina after the head of the mechina came to my school and explained that people undergo a meaningful process of personal development at the mechina. Looking back, I really can say that I developed meaningfully.
I have an eye disease called Stargardt, and I also can’t see at all with my left eye because of an injury at a very young age. It limits my ability to identify people from far away, and to read. I never felt that it limited me. I’ve done everything that someone with a pair of eyes and without an eye disease does. Not just that, but I was a counselor in a youth movement and participated in Aharai, which is a nonprofit that focuses on physical preparation for service in combat. Besides that, I ride a bike, run races, and hike around Israel. At mechina we had a field week, a week when we were in the field and navigating and we had all our equipment on us, and it was amazing. We had to navigate, and it was hard for me because of my eye problems, because maps have fine lines. Still, I navigated. I know that the handicap shouldn’t stop me, because I know that with some effort and a bit of willpower, you can do great things. My handicap pushed me to want to be more successful. I felt that thanks to it, I became a better, mentally stronger person, because I understood that the fact that I have a visual handicap doesn’t determine how I’ll succeed, at what, or how much. The one and only thing that will determine that is my will.
Thanks to Shibolim, I had an easier time at mechina. As I said, my eye problems makes it hard for me to read, which is a main part of going to mechina. The Shibolim staff advised me and took care of getting me a machine that helped me magnify the text so I could read it more easily, and they took care of accessibility advisement for the mechina staff.
I really don’t see anything stopping someone from doing something he or she wants to do and believes in, whether that person has a visual disability or a physical disability. In my opinion, a handicap indicates your points of entry, not your endpoints. So yeah, I have a visual disability. So what? Everyone has his own handicap, and mine is visual. Big deal. I have other senses, I have other ways, there are so many paths you can take. You’ve just got to understand that if you have a handicap, it isn’t the main thing. It’s secondary and it’s meaningless if you choose to believe it is. That’s how I live my life. Until they tell me I have eye problems, I don’t notice it and I don’t pay it any attention. Even you wouldn’t notice if you met me, until I told you.
So right now I’m continuing with my life, capturing one peak after another until I reach the highest peak. (Climbing Everest is a dream of mine.) I’ll see you when you get there. I’ll already be looking for the next one.