Head to Toe: A Joint Project of Arab and Jewish Women with Disabilities
In some parts of Israeli society, particularly the ultra-Orthodox and Arab sectors, disabled women are considered unsuitable for marriage or motherhood. This results in the notion that they have no need for gynecological care, or the feeling that they are unentitled to medical care for issues unrelated to their disability. Those who do make the effort find few handicapped-accessible clinics to care for them. Meanwhile, these women are far more likely than others to be the victims of sexual abuse and other violence.
Head to Toe empowers such women by giving them tools to take greater responsibility for their bodies and health. This includes helping transform the overwhelmingly negative body images many have that have led them to neglect their self-care into positive attitudes and health-rights actualization.
Disabled individuals in Israel’s northern periphery—numbering some 63,000—face even greater challenges to actualizing their health rights since they have less access to medical services that are more readily available in central Israel.
Healing Across the Divides, as part of the Women’s Health Collaborative, helps Cochav Ha’Tzafon and Al-Manal in their efforts to support such women–many of whom face some of the greatest challenges in Israeli society to receiving proper healthcare–by helping them internalize the importance of taking control of their own health and sexuality.
Al-Manal targets special needs individuals in the Arab city of Sakhnin in the Western Galilee and the surrounding towns and villages who are in particularly need of social acceptance, physical accessibility, awareness of their legal rights, and empowerment in their daily lives. A core component of Al-Manal’s mission is the integration of such individuals into the communities in which they live, along with working to change society’s attitude towards people with disabilities.
Visit Al-Manal on the web at: http://almnal.org/
Cochav Ha’Tzafon runs programs for people with special needs from different religious and ethnic backgrounds in the Galilee region of northern Israel. These programs focus on four main areas that comprise the important aspects of life for every person: housing, employment, treatment and leisure.
As part of the Head to Toe, intensive 5 hour meetings are held weekly in the town of Kfar Vradi with women suffering from various types and levels of physical and emotional disabilities to provide them support, guidance, and empowerment regarding health and their disability.
Visit Cochav Ha’Tzafon on the web at: www.cochav.org.il
Mifras Ba’Galil *former Head to Toe grantee
Mifras Ba’Galil targets the needs of the handicapped individuals of the Western and Upper Galilee that are not addressed by existing welfare and social service organizations, particularly in regard to women with special needs and their families. Mifras Ba’Galil consists of those with physical and sensory disabilities along with their families who are unable or unwilling to avail themselves of existing support frameworks (estimated at some 6,000-7,000 residents of the Galilee).