(Courtesy of JIB) The story of Jerusalem Institute for the Blind (JIB), in Israel known as Beit Chinuch Ivrim, began 120 years ago, when a merchant passing by on the streets of Jerusalem caught sight of a child nearly trampled to death by camels, and immediately ran over to help. He soon discovered that the child was in fact blind, totally illiterate, and lacking even the most basic skills necessary to navigate life. He also learned that there were many others like this child, aimlessly and hopelessly roaming the streets of Jerusalem. Unable to put this potentially tragic incident out of his mind, he reached out to his prominent contacts, and soon after the first bricks of JIB were laid.
JIB was officially established in 1902. It has since grown into a widely respected Jerusalem landmark located in Kiryat Moshe, operating a school serving children from 6 to 21 years old, and a broad array of extracurricular activities and supportive programs, all aimed at educating, enriching and empowering children, teens and young adults living with blindness to lead independent, dignified and meaningful lives devoid of crippling dependency.
JIB encourages its children to view their blindness as a challenge that is meant to be overcome as opposed to a disability that defines them and limits their potential. Their vision is to cultivate a world of acceptance and inclusivity in which all people with blindness can be equal and active members and participants. As a testament to the institute’s track record, they recently sent a team to compete at the Paralympics and brought home a bronze medal, and since the Abraham Accords, have received numerous invitations to local Arab countries to share their best practices. They cannot emphasize enough that they would not be able to educate, enrich and empower these children without their generous partners in the USA.
JIB is a unique organization in that it absolutely guarantees its benefactors transformational impact, because every child with blindness who is guided through their school and enrichment and supportive programs develops an ability to learn, function independently, and have a positive self-image and confidence. At JIB, they encourage each and every one of their children and teens to actualize their full potential and become a contributing member of their respective communities and society as a whole.
If you are interested in learning more about JIB, please visit their website, jewishblind.org. If you have any questions or would like more information, please email [email protected].