Dreaming beyond their limitations

Persons with disabilities launch Ilan Foundation’s Employment Year with Peres at President’s Residence.

PERES greets Odelia Veknin 370 (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
PERES greets Odelia Veknin 370
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
All people are limited in one way are another, but some are limited in the extreme, as a result of which they often find themselves on the outskirts of society.
Eager to overcome their disabilities and to prove their capabilities, large numbers of people with disabilities showed up on Sunday at the President’s Residence in the capital for the launch of the Ilan Foundation’s Employment Year, which is running in tandem with the organization’s 60th anniversary.
People with disabilities do not want to be treated like charity cases. Instead, just like mainstream society, they want to preserve their dignity and to prosper on the basis of their merits.
“We can also dream. We too aspire to succeed.” Avraham Roash, a third-year law student who had suffered a stroke told President Shimon Peres and other dignitaries in attendance.
Roash, who is one of many students receiving support from the Ilan Foundation, said that he had been integrated into the general education system when he was younger, and that today as a law student, he felt immensely proud to be standing on the podium of the President’s Residence.
“My path and that of my colleagues with [a variety of] disabilities is not a bed of roses,” but with the help of the special people who work with and for Ilan, “we are able to exercise our right to education, and we are also able to dream and hope for success,” Roash told the audience at the event.
He thanked all those who had enabled Ilan students to realize their potential.
Ehud Ratzabi, chairman of the Ilan Foundation, said, “We do our utmost to integrate people with disabilities into the higher education system so that they can also integrate socially, [and] become personally and economically independent.”
Sunday’s event was primarily aimed at encouraging people who had become disabled as the result of a stroke or some other form of brain damage to aim for enrolling at one of Israel’s institutions of higher education as a way of eventually achieving full integration into society.
Peres called on all such institutions to allow people with disabilities to study at their universities and colleges, and more than that, to encourage them to do so.
Peres also urged universities to provide scholarships and any other help that students with disabilities might need.
“When a person with disabilities can make use of his talents and through them can integrate into society and the workforce, not only he becomes a winner. We are all winners,” the president said.