Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon this week invited a delegation from the Special in Uniform (SIU) initiative to the U.N. to share their stories about how people with disabilities can contribute to society and to a nation.
Israel passed the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law in 1999 to protect the dignity and freedom of people with disabilities. In 2008, the U.N. followed in Israel’s footsteps by ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international human rights treaty, to protect the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. With SIU and other Israeli organizations continuing to draw global attention for their efforts, Israel is at the forefront of creating a society in which no one is left behind because of their abilities.
An Israeli organization, SIU now operates in partnership with Jewish National Fund (JNF) to integrate young people with disabilities into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and, in turn, into society. SIU’s core belief is that everyone, no matter their physical or mental abilities, belongs and has the basic right to reach his or her full potential. SIU focuses on the unique talents of each individual participant and helps find a job within the IDF that matches their skill set. The program also mentors and guides SIU participants after army service, pairing them up with companies to obtain meaningful jobs and careers.
According to JNF, for American donors, SIU is one of the organization’s most popular program areas under the special needs and disabilities umbrella.