Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Donald Berman Sulam Special Education Centers

Michael Lumish

{I was recently contacted by Baruch at Sulam Israel and asked if a guest post would be welcome. This organization helps disabled children through various educational programs as described below. They are a small non-profit and, I think, very much worthy of our support. - ML}

Remember those charity advertisements on TV about how you can adopt a child for only $30 a month? Of course you do. It was a staple of TV commercials throughout the 1990s – 2000s. The message was clear: there were thousands of starving children in the world and by donating a few dollars, you could feed them for an entire month. These organizations even allowed you the opportunity to “adopt” entire families.

These adoption charities took off, likely capturing a large share of the charity market. Just to put some perspective on it: a total of $389 billion USD was donated to charities in 2016…and that’s just in the US alone. Think about how many children they were able to feed!

While this was certainly a noble cause, what did it do to really combat poverty? Not only did poverty not shrink but it has grown at an alarming rate annually. With $389 billion in donations, you would think it would have had some sort of positive effect on the situation. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.


When analyzing any situation, it’s important to understand that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of factors involved. It’s likely that poverty has grown due to a combination of reasons. However, it’s also likely that the primary reason for this “failure” is due to not addressing the root of the problem: education.

If we want to truly combat poverty, we need to look at ending the cycle of poverty once and for all. We can do this by donating to charities whose focus is on education and integrating the impoverished into society. Financial assistance certainly helps, but for the most part it’s only a short-term solution.

Development Programs

In recent years, there have been a number of charity organizations that have popped up, offering development programs to help integrate the people under their care into society. This includes Sulam Israel, whose focus is not only on integration, but also on child development programs for children with disabilities (ASD, Down Syndrome, etc.).

In fact, Sulam Israel has adopted (no pun intended) the “Adopt a Child” program we were accustomed to seeing years ago. However, they have altered this program by using the donations on child’s therapy instead of food or other basic necessities. As such, Sulam sees a successful integration rate of their children into regular schools at a whopping 30% - much higher than the single digit success rate we used to see years ago.

By focusing on the root of the problem and intervening at the earliest age possible, Sulam has been able to effectively fight the problem.

Through these types of organizations, we have the tools and resources to help give children with disabilities the gift of a future, instead of one mired in ruin.

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