Shalva Signs Memorandum of Cooperation with Russian Jewish Congress to Develop Programs for Children with Disabilities in Russia

On Thursday September 14, 450 leaders of the Russian Jewish community gathered at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow to experience a historic advancement of Russia’s social services system, whereby the Russian Jewish Congress committed to advancing the country’s disability services through a program development partnership with Shalva. The Russian Jewish Congress’ partnership with Shalva is an unprecedented gesture that establishes Israel as an international leader in the field of disability care and is a testament to the Russian Jewish community’s desire to advance its disability services and family support systems.

“Ever since its establishment, Shalva has been developing new programs and providing guidance to other organizations around the world to advance their own disability services,” said Avi Samuels, Chairman of Shalva. “We see it as our obligation not only to help the children and families in our direct care, but also to make a difference on the way the world understands, cares for, and embraces disability. It has been an honor to work with the Russian Jewish Congress to advance this mission.”

The Shalva organization has been operating in Jerusalem for over twenty-eight years, and currently provides a variety of therapy, educational, recreational, sports and wellness, as well as family support services to 2,000 children with disabilities and their families. The Shalva National Center is the largest and most advanced center in Israel for disability care and inclusion, with state of the art therapy facilities and innovative programs for Israel’s disability community.

The partnership between Shalva and the Russian Jewish Congress has developed through a number of site visits by disability professionals of the Russian Jewish community who have traveled to the Shalva National Center in Jerusalem to learn various therapy models and program methodologies. The relationship will continue with the guided implementation of these programs in Russia’s Jewish schools and institutions for years to come.

The Memorandum of Cooperation signing by leadership representatives of the two organizations took place at a Keren Jerusalem gala dinner which was hosted by Mikhail Fridman, founder of the Genesis Philanthropic Group and ranked Russia’s most important businessman. Fridman, who in his youth was discriminated against for his Jewish heritage, has dedicated his life to advancing the Jewish community in Russia and Israel through several public service capacities.

The gala dinner celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and was attended by honorable guests Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Israeli Olympics medalist Ori Sasson. An inspiring performance by the Shalva Band of Israeli musicians with disabilities gave the Russian community a glimpse into the potential that can be achieved by children with disabilities when given the proper support and services.