Access Israel's delegation in a visit to Rio de Janeiro
A delegation of Access Israel has just returned from a visit to Rio de Janeiro. Invited by the senior secretary of Israel's embassy in Brazilia Mr. Itay Tagner, the purpose of this visit was to hold accessibility activities during the Rio Paralympic Games.
The Rio delegates on their part, presented the activity in this field in Rio, including the special preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic games currently held in the city. They also talked about their legislation and policy regarding access and rights of people with disabilities.
A 'Meal of the Senses' for representatives of the local Jewish communityIn the evening, the Access Israel delegation held a Meal of the Senses event for the Jewish community representatives, led by Mr. Osias Wurman, Israel's Honorary Consul, and the chief rabbi of Rio, Rav Dario Bialer. Representatives of the Israel Paralympic delegation also attended the event, among whom was the head of the Paralympic Committee, Mr. Danny Ben Abu, the Paralympic Committee's CEO, Mr. Nissim Sasportas, Zahal Disabled Veteran Organization (ZDVO)'s CEO, Brigadier General Haim Ronen and the Jewish Institute for the Blind's deputy director, Mr. Shabi Deutch.
The very entrance as "blind" was a powerful experience for the guests, who were guided into the venue for wine tasting and the first course. For the entrée, they wore thick gloves that limited their sensation and fine motoric, after which they were required to order dessert with sound blocking headphones, making it hard and even impossible to hear the attendants as they told them what was on the menu.
During the meal, the guests had the honor of meeting two of the Israeli Paralympic athletes; rowers Reuven Megnaji and Julia Chernoy, who shared their stories; and Shuval Ben Ze'ev, a hearing impaired instructor with Access Israel, who, together with Sarel Ohana – the manager of the Pay it Forward in Signs Project, translated to sign language and taught the guests some words, giving them a glimpse of the silent world of the deaf.
The event was a big success, filling the participants with true pride. It was clear that they felt connected to Israel and proud of the important activities of the Paralympic team and Access Israel, as demonstrated in the Meal of the Senses event.
An accessibility happening for children of the FavelasOn Wednesday, (September 14), the Access Israel delegation spent an unforgettable day in Rio. Their activities resonated throughout the city and the delegates as well as the Israeli embassy staff that took part in it were deeply moved by it. The day began with an activity with the children of the Favelas and ended with an evening Meal of the Senses for Brazilian celebrities.
Bright and early, the delegation set up a path of senses in Madureira Park for a special activity of "Feeling Accessibility" with the children of the Favelas, who experienced different kinds of disabilities, such as getting around in a wheelchair, walking and running blind, an accessible graffiti activity and communicating in sign language. Participants and spectators alike said it was emotional and unforgettable.
Michal Rimon, Access Israel's CEO summed it up: "Our events are always moving, create a shift in participants' awareness and promote social inclusion. This is especially true with children, and with the children of the Favelas, it was even more so.
"Access Israel team members were moved to tears by the appreciation and gratitude and by helping the opportunity to bring happiness and excitement to children who come from the poorest parts of the city. It was clear that they were eager to learn and experience, and their cooperation was amazing! We are grateful for this opportunity and wish to thank Itay Tagner, the senior secretary of the Israeli consulate in Brazilia, who had insisted we target that population, choosing that specific park in the middle of one of Rio's toughest neighborhood."
The event received further exposure in the local media and the TV team that came to cover it were also deeply moved by it.
The guests were deeply moved by Paralympic athlete, bronze medalist Ms. Moran Samuel who talked about seeing difficulties as challenges rather than obstacles.
Having entered the dining hall and eating as "blind", the guests were then served their entrée, for which they wore thick gloves that limited their sensation and fine motoric. This was followed by a brief sign language workshop, giving the guests a taste of the world of the deaf and hearing impaired. People were moved to tears and many stayed long after the meal itself had ended, talking to Access Israel and embassy representatives.
To Itay Tagner, Israel embassy senior secretary in Brazilia; to Yossi Aviram and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their assistance; to Danny Ben Abu and the Israeli Paralympic Committee; to Eyal Zipuim Ltd.; to Mehalev advanced communication technologies company; to the Access Israel team and Michal Rimon.