Jerusalem’s new Shalva National Center for children with disabilities..
(photo credit: SHALVA)
Political, philanthropic, sporting and entertainment luminaries from Israel and abroad are expected to join in Thursday’s grand opening celebration for Jerusalem’s Shalva National Center.
The new center in the Beit Began neighborhood, which cost more than NIS 200 million to build, houses some of the country’s largest, most advanced disability-accessible facilities, including a 400-seat auditorium, semi-Olympic hydrotherapy pool, and fitness room with equipment accessible to people with disabilities.
“The center’s cutting-edge therapy facilities have enabled Shalva to bring state-of-the-art technology and therapy solutions to Israel for the first time,” the center said in a Wednesday statement.
“Thousands of children with disabilities and their families participate in rehabilitative therapy, inclusive education, vocational training, and recreational activities on a daily basis. The new National Center is the largest and most advanced facility for children with disabilities in the world, and serves people with disabilities of all ages, religions and ethnicities, free of charge.”
Shalva was founded 27 years ago in response to the personal experiences of Malki and Kalman Samuels, whose son Yossi became blind, deaf and acutely hyperactive at the age of 11 months as the result of a faulty vaccination.
“Malki and Kalman, who received very little support from the paltry services available at the time, dedicated themselves to ensure that other families and children receive the help they need,” the statement said.
“Shalva’s programs provide an all-encompassing range of services for thousands of individuals from infancy to adulthood.
Through nearly three decades of award-winning programs, Shalva partners with government, academic and philanthropic institutions in advocacy efforts to create a more inclusive society.”
The new facility will house Jerusalem’s first inclusive public playground with disability- accessible installations, municipal inclusive preschools, and in-house equal opportunity work settings.
Among those scheduled to attend Thursday’s daylong event are Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Israeli Olympic medalist Ori Sasson, and more than 200 philanthropists from across the globe. Shalva Band lead singer Dina Samta, who has been chosen to light one of the torches at the national Independence Day ceremony, will perform.
The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. and last until evening.