I’m happy to share this update about the most important and interesting things that happened this year at Shibolim, which is closing off its third year. The 2018–2019 year was a successful and exciting one. There were 31 students with disabilities integrated at mechinot (pre-military leadership academies) throughout Israel. Now they’re waiting to arrive at their places in the military, in meaningful positions that will let all of them make the most of their abilities and energies. Four of the graduates are continuing on to a second year of mechina.
We spent a lot of time and effort during the year constructing a working model for the program. Together with professionals in the field, we developed briefing books on various subjects from the program’s content universe, expanded the training provided to mechina staff, and devised a screening and intake process for the mechinot.
For the first time, we produced a promotional clip for the program! The clip features program participants, their friends, and mechina staff, and it illustrates the process that the students experience during the year.
We’re very proud of the leadership process undergone by the members of the Shibolink group, consisting of mechina students with and without disabilities. The members of the group devised and executed a campaign calling for accessibility modification of nature sites and hiking trails. The group is a collaborative effort of Shibolim and Link 20, an initiative of the Ruderman Family Foundation.
Among the other goals of the program, we’re working to change attitudes toward the mainstreaming of individuals with disabilities in Israeli society. This year we broadened our activities, and 15 mechinot participated in meetings with individuals with disabilities who are among the leaders of Israeli society. We’re in the midst of admissions and intake ahead of the 2019–2020 year. As of now, 36 students with disabilities are to be mainstreamed at 29 mechinot and affiliates. It’s exciting to see how the mechinot take on the mission of making themselves accessible and opening up to new target populations!
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our program partners: JDC–Israel Ashalim, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Defense, the National Insurance Institute Fund for Development of Services for People with Disabilities, the Ruderman Family Foundation, and UJA–Federation of New York.
Good luck to our alumni and our new students!
Efrat Aharoni, Program Director, Shibolim
Shibolim is operated by the Joint Council of Mechinot in partnership with JDC–Israel Ashalim, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Defense, the National Insurance Institute Fund for Development of Services for People with Disabilities, the Ruderman Family Foundation, and UJA–Federation of New York.