Beit Issie Shapiro Wins Zero Project Award 2023 and Inspires Societal Change in Austria

Austrian Parliament selects Israeli national self-advocacy initiative for people with disabilities, developed by Israeli disability NGOs Beit Issie Shapiro and Israel Elwyn, as a model to adapt into Austrian society.

The National Self-Advocacy Program for People with Intellectual Disabilities, developed and led in cooperation by Israeli disability organizations Beit Issie Shapiro and Israel Elwyn, was awarded the prestigious Innovative Solution Award 2023 by the Zero Project.

Zero Project Award Ceremony

The Zero Project is an international organization which hosts a conference at the United Nations in Vienna each year, bringing together innovators and key decision makers in the global disability field to foster partnerships through sharing solutions that benefit people with disabilities.

As part of the conference, 71 initiatives from 42 countries were recognized for their innovative contribution to the field, which this year included Beit Issie Shapiro and Israel Elwyn’s important project.

This National Self- Advocacy program empowers adults with disabilities to advocate for social and policy change for people with disabilities across the country. This unique model is the first of its kind in Israel that advocates on a national level; truly impacting policy and legislation.

As part of The Zero Project conference this year, five Austrian Parliament members each selected an initiative from among the awardees that they wish to implement in Austrian society.  Beit Issie Shapiro and Israel Elwyn’s Self-Advocacy initiative was among the selected programs chosen to strengthen political participation of persons with disabilities in Austria.

Beit Issie Shapiro Representative Lilach Bar Presenting at Parliament

Member of Parliament Heike Grebien, who selected this project, shared: “People with disabilities themselves know best what they need. So the question is how we can support people with intellectual disabilities to empower themselves and be the ones in the room with the decision-makers. That’s what this (self-advocacy) program does… very often simple solutions make a huge difference, and that’s what we see here with Beit Issie Shapiro’s and Israel Elwyn’s program.”

Ahmir Lerner, Beit Issie Shapiro Executive Director added: “We are really proud of the success this group has had in Israel and are honored to partner together with leaders in the Austrian disability field to implement a similar mechanism for change in Austrian society.”

PM Heiki Grebien with Beit Issie Shapiro and Israel Elwyn Representatives
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