Resources for Israel’s visually impaired.
The Society for the Blind & Prevention of Blindness in Israel
The Society for the Blind & Prevention of Blindness was established in 1948, during the War of Independence for the benefit of those wounded in battle. They are an independent society, not affiliated to any other body and operated by a team of volunteers. They offer assistance to all visually impaired, that require it.
Due to their circumstances, the visually impaired are unable to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures: reading, television, cinema and driving. It is the mission of the society mission is to remove the visually impaired from a cycle of loneliness and abuse.
The society give assistance, in their different locations, to every child, adult, man or woman who has a visual impairment irrespective of age, gender, race or religion.
- Counseling and support by Social Workers
- Advanced diagnostics and treatments. Loans and subsidies are available for this purpose.
- Over 180 volunteers that accompany and assist the visually impaired at home or with their day-to-day living.
- Numerous activities including; art classes, a choral group, folk dancing, radio-drama, computers, theater and more
- A center for children from the age of 3 and up
- Assistance in obtaining loans for blind students
- Family counseling in dealing with the visually impaired
- Liaison with public bodies to improve the facilities for the visually impaired
The society has extensive premises that suit the needs and support the many activities and facilities they offer. They are able to provide cultural and social services, support and rehabilitation for the visually impaired. They host many workshops for visually impaired teens teaching them communication skills in a seeing world and food preparation.
High-school students can complete their “personal commitment program” required for their matriculation certificate with the assistance of a fully sighted partner.
Another project, aimed at senior citizens, provides them the support they need while losing their vision.
They are always looking for volunteers who are willing to accompany and support the visually impaired, that can explain their legal rights and benefits, give workshops and presentations, participate in extra-mural activities with them, perform administrative duties and get involved in special projects.
For general information and assistance from the society please contact:
- Information & Resources for Senior Citizens
- Medical & healthcare services
- Special Education
- Social Services
RE-SPECS Frames for the Needy
What are you doing with your old pair of glasses?
Every year, all around the world, millions of used glasses are discarded by their owners. The majority of these are perfectly usable and can be passed onto people in need.
In Israel, three out of four people need corrective eye-wear and 20 percent of our population are impoverished. This means that there are one million people in Israel who can benefit from a newly established organization called RE-SPECS Frames for the Needy. They believe that all vision-impaired people, regardless of financial standing, should be able to obtain suitable eye-wear. Their main focus is on two social issues: 1) the unnecessary wastage of the valuable resource of used and surplus glasses frames and 2)the value of channeling this resource to people in need. Originally a home-based “gemach” (a free-loan fund or establishment) they are now a registered charity. They work in conjunction with the social services and with other charities to help the underprivileged get glasses. They educate the public and teach them the value of recycling their old frames. They have also partnered with many optometrists who offer heavily discounted lenses to those that are referred by them. RE-SPECS aims to reach thousands of underprivileged citizens and assist them in purchasing “new” glasses – at a nominal rate of $5 a pair!
If you are in need of this assistance, have glasses you want to donate or are looking for an incredible volunteer opportunity you can contact RE-SPECS at their Raanana office via their website www.respecsframes.org
The AACI Mary & Ben Cohen Library for the Visually Impaired & Home Bound
The AACI Cohen Library, which is operated by volunteers is a library for the visually impaired and home-bound English speakers. The library has a large selection of mainly donated English language books on audio-tape, CD, journals, and large-print books: novels, non-fiction, Judaica, humor, self-help, and more.
The Library has a growing membership of over 200 members – from Naharia in the North to Eilat in the South, on the Golan Heights, kibbutzim and moshavim. The books and cassettes are distributed through the national “free mail service for the blind”.
37 Pierre Koenig, corner of Poalei Tzedek, Talpiot, Jerusalem
The Multi-Service Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The center offers services in the areas of employment, psychological support, education and more:
29 Rechov HaGra, Tel Aviv
216 Rechov Yaffo, Jerusalem
32 Rechov HaGeffen, Haifa
You can volunteer with the visually impaired and many other organizations in Israel. It is a wonderful way of meeting people and integrating into the community or even finding employment. Some of the volunteer organizations in Israel are listed for your convenience.