Alei Siach’s Rehabilitative Occupation Center provides special-needs adults with vocational training and sheltered employment. Here they receive a variety of job options, work satisfaction, and token pay in a competitive world that tends to ignore their existence.
The Rehabilitative Center is comprised of three separate units:
1. Individuals with autism
2. Special-needs men
3. Special-needs women
Employees work in structured work groups, and each group has its own workers’ committee that receives guidance from a social worker. This proactive group meets to discuss employment conditions, pay rate, and other issues pertaining to their work life.
The occupation center staff includes occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, and social workers.
Alei Siach’s occupation center has proven its advantages to such an extent that it has been modeled successfully in other special-needs institutes.
Alei Siach views its occupation center as one of its greatest achievements. It is actually a factory like any other, which employs special-needs adults, both men and women in separate units. They come to work every day from all over Jerusalem, either from home or from Alei Siach’s assisted living apartments.
Each worker, according to his or her cognitive level and physical ability, participates in the center’s production process. They’re packaging products or doing other tasks required by the companies and factories that deliver raw materials to our occupation center and receive it back ready for distribution.
The occupation center also operates a production line. Special-needs adults engage in jewelry making, beading, fimo, ceramics and soap casting. The ready products are sold in stores, malls, and Judaica and art fairs.
To realize our goal of integrating the special-needs population as much as possible in the daily fabric of normal life, our special-needs employees arrive at the center with the feeling that they are going to work, and they even receive a token salary.
Each worker is occupied in an area they enjoy whether it’s in drawing, crafts, or music. At Alei Siach they are given the tools to express their inner worlds. Furthermore, all employees have their own personal plan that is suited to their individual abilities, with the goal of advancing them until they are able – whenever possible – to integrate in the real working world.
Consequently, in addition to the occupation center, Alei Siach operates outside employment initiatives. Among these are Ein Yael, a riding center offering animal therapy, Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo, the sterilization department of Shaarei Tzedek Hospital, the Dor Yesharim organization, and more. High-functioning special-needs adults are integrated in outside jobs both in government institutes like government schools and offices and in the private sector. They may work in printing and copying, carpentry, errand running, daycare centers, and commercial kitchens.
Torah and Avodah: Our Cerebral Palsy Group
The occupation center also operates a unique group: men with CP who are of normal or borderline intelligence.
This group’s daily schedule is divided between studying Gemara and production. Group members have already completed a number of Gemara tractates, which they celebrated with lots of excitement and joy.
Despite their physical limitations, their desire to create and do something purposeful has become a powerful incentive that is helping them attain remarkable achievements.
The group’s main job is in the computer field where the system they use is adapted for individuals with limited vision and motor difficulties.