The Education Ministry announced last week that, this year, the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement will be awarded to Naomi Stuchiner, the founder of Beit Issie Shapiro.
Beit Issie Shapiro was founded almost 40 years ago and is headquartered in Ra'anana. The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life of children and adults with disabilities and to promoting their inclusion in Israeli society. While, initially, Beit Issie Shapiro was a daycare center for children with disabilities, it has grown to become a center for research and vocational training for children and adults with disabilities, which even influences legislation in the country.
Naomi, 72, was born in South Africa and moved to Israel in 1970 and was then working as a social worker In 1980, after her father Issie Shapiro passed away, she decided to establish the Beit Issie Shapiro organization in his honor.
"My late father, Issie Shapiro, had a vision of a society in which all people have equal opportunities for growth, development and for contributing to their communities. His dream was to bring about a change in Israel for people with disabilities. After his sudden death in 1980, my family and I were determined to carry out his deeply felt mission," Naomi said.
The prize committee said it decided to give Naomi the award because "in less than 40 years, Issie Shapiro has become a center that positively influences the lives of over half a million Israelis every year. With Naomi's leadership, Issie Shapiro became a social change tool for people."
"Her belief in the power of the third sector to bring about important social change and a better future for Israeli society motivates her to work tirelessly to promote and strengthen the third sector," the committee added.
"Naomi Stuchiner has dedicated her life to Beit Issie Shapiro," said Amir Lerner, CEO of Beit Issie Shapiro.
"Naomi's award reflects the much appreciation of the Israeli public and especially that which people with disabilities and their families have for her and Issie Shapiro," he added.