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The Israeli National Leadership Center of People with Disabilities

The National Leadership Center of People with Disabilities seeks to empower people with disabilities and provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills for self-advocacy and active leadership.

Name of the practice: The Israeli National Leadership Center of People with Disabilities  

Organisation: Beit Issie Shapiro

Description of the organization:

Beit Issie Shapiro (BIS) is Israel’s leading non-profit organization furthering the rights, opportunities and services for people with disabilities in all sectors of society, impacting on some half a million people annually. It promotes social change though a three-pronged approach: development and provision of cutting edge services, advocating for better legislation and developing leadership and self-representation, and sharing knowledge throughout Israel, as well as internationally, through research, consultation and training.  

Country: Ra'anana, Israel 

Year of initiation: 2017 

Funding: Crowdfunding, Philanthropic funding from foundations 

Link to UNCRPD: Article 29 – Participation in political and public life. 

Description of practice: 

The National Leadership Center of People with Disabilities seeks to empower people with disabilities and provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills for self-advocacy and active leadership. Actors involved learn how to effectively exercise their natural rights through Israeli and international legislation, participate in making decisions pertaining to their lives, advance policy issues that require government attention and consequently, improve their quality of life. 

Problem targeted: 

In Israel, many within the public and numerous service providers perceive people with disabilities as dependent and helpless. Their abilities to contribute to and enrich society are largely ignored and as a result they lack opportunities to experience leadership roles, to take part in influential circles, and to participate in decision-making processes. There is also a shortage of active leadership to drive significant social change amongst the younger generation of people with disabilities, in parent groups of children with disabilities, and amongst other unrepresented groups. 

Solution Offered: 

The mission of the National Leadership Center is to bring to life the UNCRPD's underlying principle of "nothing about us without us”, by empowering persons with disabilities to make their voices heard, ensuring their calls are no longer excluded from national policy issues. The Center consists of 7 leadership groups of people with all types of disabilities across all population groups and ages. A facilitator of each group ensures that members receive ongoing training and guidance on the necessary skills to achieve their objectives more effectively. Ultimately, the National Leadership Center hopes to integrate its members into key positions in society, therefore acting as an inspiration for more people with disabilities to speak up. 

Impact and Sustainability of the practice: 

The Leadership Center’s groups focus their efforts on influencing policy on a national level, in various areas of society relating to people with disabilities. Today, through the work of the Self-Advocacy Groups, people with disabilities are seen and heard. They are now being considered as legitimate partners in the discourse amongst policymakers. Both local and national government request their input and participation in legislative processes which has both directly impacted thousands of people with disabilities and helped facilitate a change in attitude towards people with disabilities. Their activities have led to exciting and important breakthroughs, including an amendment to the Legal Capacity and Guardianship Law passed by the Israeli Parliament’s Ministerial Legislative Committee. The Leadership Center team is in the process of compiling the Center's work model and developing an online toolbox, which will be disseminated among activists and professionals around the world. 

Contact Information:Lilach Bar, National Coordinator of the Leadership Center and Community Programs

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