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The Inclusion Program for Down Syndrome Students at Mercaz Beth Jacob in Jerusalem is one-of-a-kind. Over 60 teen-aged girls with Down syndrome are integrated into six grades in a normative high school and seminary. They learn to cope with their limitations, realize their strengths and become productive members of society. The Down syndrome girls’ inclusion in selected classes and all school social activities fosters their feeling of belonging, promotes friendships with normative peers and builds self-confidence.
The curriculum emphasizes computers and life skills to prepare these girls with Down syndrome for future employment. They receive vocational training and work at internships that culminate with job placement. The program includes after-school activities and events for all vacation days.
Over the years, more than 70 graduates have successfully integrated into a variety of workplaces –government offices, kindergartens, stores and businesses. The resulting independence and fulfillment is transformative for these girls with Down syndrome. Even after graduation, the program’s staff remains in contact, offering ongoing support and guidance. That’s why this program never ends!
The goal of the program is to give the girls with Down syndrome hope, a meaningful future, and opportunities to integrate into the community and the workforce.