Dealing successfully with challenges has ripple effects far beyond the individual. Overcoming adversity in the face of a disability is often a profound source of inspiration to others. One such example is a program in Israel that is paving the way for thousands with disabilities to move past traditional obstacles and proudly serve in the military. And, with the help of an inspirational military officer, the program is creating a more inclusive Israeli society and serves as a model to other nations.
Special in Uniform, a signature program of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), was launched 20 years ago by a small group of senior officers, to integrate Israeli youth with disabilities—mental and physical—into the IDF to serve alongside their fellow countrymen and women. Today, a proud partner of Jewish National Fund, Special in Uniform is working toward its goal to “ensure that the army is a place for everyone.” A distinctive aspect of SIU is that it pairs the soldiers with positions, units, and commanders to ensure that their service is meaningful and effective. This includes identifying appropriate positions for each soldier so that they can excel in their tasks and have a sense of belonging. Throughout their service, Special in Uniform soldiers receive life-skill lessons and are provided with career assistance and placement to ensure a smoother transition into civilian life.
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