The Issie Shapiro House, an Israeli NGO dedicated to children with disabilities, was recently awarded the status of consultant to the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The NGO, founded some 30 years ago, focuses on three main activities: providing families with innovative treatments, changing society’s attitudes toward people with disabilities, and research.

The consultant status enables the organization to interact with ECOSOC and other subsidiary bodies of the UN. It also means that the Issie Shapiro House will be a primary source of expert advice to the council.

“We feel very honored,” said Nili Nir, the NGO’s spokeswoman, on Tuesday. “It started over 30 years ago, in an old house with 14 disabled kids, and look where we are now.”

The organization, which impacts about 30,000 people a year, has had an international perspective since its beginning.

“We see ourselves as knowledge manufacturers,” Nir explained, “and we like and encourage sharing that knowledge with the world. Many therapy professionals from other countries have come to see what we do and have also done the same in their countries.”

The Issie Shapiro House applied for consultant status about a year ago on the recommendation of an Israel-based foreign diplomat who had visited the organization’s center in Ra’anana.

“This status is not just important for us, it is also [important] for the State of Israel,” Nir said. “We feel that we represent the State of Israel, that in a way we bring out and show to the world the good that the country does. It’s somewhat a big responsibility.”

Jean Judes, the NGO’s executive director, declared in a statement that the achievement “is credit to the hard work and dedication of our many staff, volunteers and supporters. We have so much to share as well as learn from other countries, and this status will enable us to network and exchange information with leading specialists in the field of disabilities across the world.”

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