Kesher works to improve the lives of thousands of families who raise children with disabilities in Israel, and helps them advocate for themselves and their children. Kesher promotes changes in societal perceptions so that people with disabilities, and their families, come to be seen as an integral, valuable part of Israeli society. Kesher works with families whose children have a wide range of disabilities, from all across Israel and from all walks of life – Jewish and Arab, Haredi and secular, immigrant and veteran.
In recent years, Kesher has embarked on a major push to increase services to Israel’s Arab citizens. Across Israel, families raising children with disabilities are confronted with numerous challenges and obstacles, however the situation is especially difficult for Israel’s Arab citizens, who face a dearth of services, often live in isolated communities, confront cultural stigmas, and lack sufficient government investment. To meet this need Kesher has significantly increased its number of Arab staff, now totaling half of the organisation’s workforce, and has begun implementing a number of new programmes specifically designed for Israel’s Arab communities.
In order to reach Arab families, Kesher is spearheading a number of programmes including the creation of an Arabic language website in partnership with Israel’s National Insurance Institute, and an intensive leadership programme for parents and professionals living in Israel’s northern Arab communities. Kesher recently joined the JDC-Israel Masira Program for the Advancement of the Status of People with Disabilities in Arab Society in Israel to establish 10 Information Centers. These Arabic-language centres offer information about services and rights, as well as assistance in accessing those services and rights, especially as they relate to Israel’s often under-served Arab communities.
Kesher also runs initiatives specifically for the Bedouin community, training mothers to serve as informational liaisons and community leaders, leading the fight to improve services for children with disabilities living in Israel’s Bedouin communities.
As these programmes begin to grow in size and success, Kesher plans to develop additional initiatives so that Arab families in Israel raising children with disabilities have the support and resources they need to raise their children in comfort and dignity.