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About AKIM Israel


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Canadian Friends of AKIM exists

  • to provide support and services for people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Israel through AKIM Israel
  • to promote the good work of AKIM Israel in Canada
  • to encourage collaboration between Canadians and AKIM Israel
  • to foster the spirit of an inclusive Israeli society

AKIM Israel

There are 12,000 children and 22,000 adults who have an intellectual disability living in Israel today. Limitations in functioning and in abilities to care for themselves make this a highly vulnerable group in need of a wide range of long-term assistance. The need for AKIM’s services has increased since the influx of more than 1 million immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia in the past 15 years adding more than 5000 new people with an intellectual disability to Israel’s population.

Their families, 134,000 in all, are in need of help too. They face daunting challenges when raising a child with an intellectual disability and planning for a future after the parents are gone. The birth of a child who has an intellectual disability can be deeply distressing to families. These families need expert emotional support during the initial phases of first grasping and then accepting this life-altering event. They need guidance as to how to best deal with and educate their child, they need to be educated about the services and financial assistance that are available from the government, and they need long-term emotional and psychological support.

With headquarters in Tel-Aviv, AKIM has an extensive network of 64 branches throughout Israel. These 64 branches are operated by parents of people with intellectual disabilities, 2000 volunteers and 300 professionals.

AKIM’s services range from a vigorous advocacy program advancing the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities, to kindergartens and nurseries, after-school activities, group homes, job training, recreational programs and special “holidays” for adults, as well as support and education for parents. Self-advocacy, whose guiding principle is to allow the individual who has a disability to make decisions about his or her life, is stressed as well. These services are free for all those who need them and cannot afford to pay.

AKIM serves a wide population: 19 social clubs for 2000 adults, 59 sheltered workshops for 2500 adults, summer camps for 2000 teen-agers and young adults, 24 group homes for 600 people, and 14 apartments in regular buildings with an average of 6 residents each.

AKIM believes that people with intellectual disabilities deserve to have rich, fulfilling lives, and be included in the larger community. AKIM has played an essential role in changing the attitude of the wider society and the government towards people with intellectual disabilities – helping to see the them as unique individuals who have a right to education and a full life with respect to housing, employment and leisure activities.

AKIM Israel is chaired by Ami Ayalon, Former Admiral of the Israeli Navy, Former Minister in the Israeli Cabinet, Former head of Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service) and Co- founder of “The People’s Voice” peace initiative.

For more information about AKIM Israel click here.

Role of Canadian Friends of AKIM

Under the rules of the Canada Revenue Agency Canadian Friends of AKIM has an agency agreement with AKIM Israel whereby AKIM Israel operates projects on behalf of Canadian Friends of AKIM.


Board of Directors

Chair: Alex Eisen

President: Diane Richler

Vice-President: Michael Sax

Treasurer: Morry Nosak

Secretary: Mark Gelfand

Director of Community Outreach: Adam Freedman

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Friends of AKIM