Beit Issie Shapiro, Israel’s leading disabilities innovator, welcomed global Sesame Workshop President and CEO, H. Melvyn Ming to learn about the organization’s partnership with Israel Sesame Street Workshop. At the culmination of the visit, Mr Ming announced a global partnership with Beit Issie Shapiro to further the inclusion of people with disabilities across the world.
Thanks to generous support from donors and friends in Israel and overseas, Beit Issie Shapiro’s flagship innovation is Park Chaverim, the first inclusive and accessible playground for children with and without disabilities in Ra’anana. It is there that Sivan, developed by Israel Sesame Street Workshop, can play with her friends. Sivan is the first muppet in the Sesame Street family worldwide who uses a wheelchair. All of Israel’s children have the opportunity to meet Sivan and learn critical lessons about inclusiveness and tolerance by watching Rechov Sumsum (Sesame Street in Israel), which airs daily on Israel’s premier children’s channel, HOP!
Beit Issie Shapiro champions the inclusion of people with disabilities in society, innovates new therapies for children with disabilities and shares its innovations across Israel and globally in order to maximize its impact. Beit Issie Shapiro was named Israel’s inaugural most effective non-profit organization by efficiency monitor Midot, and was recently named Special Consultant to the UN Social and Economic Council.
“Getting kids and their parents face-to-face with people with disabilities and having them represented in mainstream contexts makes these issues personal and real,” Beit Issie Shapiro Executive Director Jean Judes added. “It’s the best way there is to change society.”
Mr Ming observed a classroom educational session at a typical kindergarten, part of an innovative educational program developed by Beit Issie Shapiro – in conjunction with the Ministry of Education – to teach about inclusion, tolerance and acceptance of differences, reaching tens of thousands of children across Israel.
Mr. Ming said “We are thrilled to be partnering together with Beit Issie Shapiro and HOP! to bring these issues to a wider community, and with the possibility of creating models that can be taken worldwide. It is an honor to be here.”
Mrs Judes will be speaking at Sesame Workshop’s global headquarters in New York in April in order to further the partnership.