Shalva is dedicated to providing quality care for individuals with disabilities, empowering their families and promoting social inclusion. Non-denominational and free of charge, Shalva’s ongoing programs offer therapeutic, educational and recreational care for hundreds of individuals from infancy to adulthood. Additionally, Shalva is at the forefront of efforts to ensure the wellbeing of families coping with disability and fortifying their ability to raise their children with disabilities within the family framework and as inherent members of the broader community. Shalva partners with other institutions in advocacy efforts to create a more inclusive society.
Shalva’s programs are crafted according to unique inclusion curricula models, and incorporate a constellation of on-site therapies as well as parallel support groups and education sessions for family and members of the broader community. With nearly three decades of award winning program development, Shalva has been distinguished with several prizes and endorsements; including the Ruderman Prize for Inclusion, the President of Israel’s Prize for Excellence, and the Knesset Speaker’s Quality of Life Prize. Shalva’s management standards continue to be recognized by the ISO 9001/2008 certification and Midot’s Seal for Outstanding Effectiveness.
Shalva strives to create a world where persons with disabilities are appreciated and accepted for their unique sets of abilities, and are given equal opportunities to become agents of change by shaping their own futures as dynamic and meaningful contributors in the broader community.
Shalva endeavors to provide persons with disabilities access to quality education, health care, and social protection by encouraging the achievement of their full human potential and strengthening their families. Shalva’s social development programs continue to shift attitudinal barriers toward promoting the dignity and achievements of persons with disabilities while fostering a peaceful and inclusive society.
Shalva emerged from the deep resilience of a mother named Malki.
A mother whose son, Yossi, was tragically taken away, yet miraculously returned.
Yossi was left blind, deaf and acutely hyperactive as the result of a faulty vaccination at the tender age of eleven months. With no way to communicate with her son, Malki promised God that if He would help Yossi then she would dedicate herself to helping other children and families challenged by disability.
When Yossi was eight years old, a teacher at Jerusalem’s Institute for the Blind succeeded in penetrating Yossi’s wall of silence via Hebrew finger spelling in the palm of his hand. Malki recalled her promise; and together with her husband, Kalman; they founded Shalva in 1990 as an afternoon playgroup for six children in a local Jerusalem apartment.
That was almost thirty years ago.
Since then, Shalva has never stopped growing. As the awareness of disability increased over the years, Shalva continued to develop programs to meet every need that surfaced. Within two years of the After School Activity Center’s launch, Shalva incorporated summer camp and overnight respite programs. In 1999, having already received several awards from the President of Israel and others, Shalva was officially recognized by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services; becoming one of Israel’s primary disability service providers.
Within the coming years, Shalva monumentally expanded; involving the organization’s move to its facility in Har Nof and the integration of two additional branches, coupled with the establishment of early intervention programs: Me and My Mommy, the Rehabilitative Day Care, and Inclusive Preschool programs. By 2012 Shalva had over 500 program participants ranging from the ages of 0-21, a basketball team, a band, the largest team in the Jerusalem Marathon, an international academic research committee, musical performances and academic conferences attended by hundreds of people from the broader community, and an inclusion promoting series airing on national television.
As Shalva’s successful programs grew in popularity and became a staple of Israel’s social services structure; both Shalva and the Jerusalem Municipality recognized the need to expand Shalva’s programs and facilities. Due to lack of space, Shalva’s programs had ongoing waiting lists. “These are the calls I cannot answer,” says Kalman Samuels, Shalva’s founder and chairman. “Telling parents that there is no room to accept their child to a program; for them it is a difference of profound, life-altering implications.” To respond to this growing need, in 2010 Shalva was granted by the Jerusalem Municipality a significant property in a choice location to build the Shalva National Center.
Today, Shalva has inspired hope in thousands of families and has changed the lives of countless children with disabilities. In its new home, the Shalva National Center, the organization continues to amplify its remarkable scope of impact to even more astounding proportions.