For Israeli children and young adults, participation in youth movements is a rite of passage and literally a way of life for millions- as it has been for all of the nation’s modern history. As a way to ensure that children with disabilities be included, the organization Krembo Wings was launched.
Krembos are an iconic Israeli snack-food known for its individual wrapper which served as the inspiration for the organization’s name- where each and ever child served is personally cared for and given the confidence that he or she can use her “wings” to fly and soar.
Each week, while other mainstream youth are participating in groups like the Scouts and Bnei Akiva, some 1,500 disabled young people participate in social activities alongside 3,500 volunteer counselors to send the message that the disabled youth are no different.
Krembo Wings currently operates 55 branches across Israel and welcomes young people with all disabilities, aged 7 to 21, from all cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.
Activities are carried out by able-bodied youth counselors, aged 14 to 18, who learn the values of volunteering and leadership through their roles in the branches. The youth counselors are highly trained in the required skills to provide both enriching and empowering activities for members with all types of disabilities. Krembo Wings sees its main purpose as to enable every child living with any type of motor, cognitive or sensory disability to take part in enjoyable social interactions between one another and their able-bodied peers on an equal basis and become part of community life.
For members with disabilities, the few hours each week at Krembo Wings is the highlight of their week providing them with the only opportunity to enjoy themselves with people of their own ages and make friends.
For the parents of the members with disabilities – the few hours each week that their child is at Krembo Wings is often the only free time that they have from being the primary carer.
The ultimate way to show these children that they are not different is to enable them to enjoy the basic childhood pleasures we all take for granted. By supporting Krembo Wings, they offer them that confidence and will allow them to soar.