Beit Issie Shapiro Awarded Special UN Consultant Status

Israeli NGO with South African link to advise world body on disability issues.

The United Nation's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC ) has awarded "special consultative status" to an organization for people with special needs, named for a South African man who advocated better treatment for the disabled.

The Ra'anana-based Beit Issie Shapiro is a nonprofit innovator of therapies for children and adults with disabilities, as well as an advocate for them.

The designation empowers the 32-year-old organization to advise ECOSOC on matters related to people with disabilities, and to keep it updated on innovations coming out of Israel. ECOSOC serves as the central forum for formulating economic and social policy recommendations to the UN and member states.

"We have so much to share as well as learn from other countries, and this status will enable us to network and exchange information with leading specialists in the field of disabilities across the world," said Beit Issie Shapiro's executive director Jean Judes, who originally hails from South Africa, in a statement released by the organization.

Judes will represent the organization this September at the fifth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in New York. It will be the first UN conference for the organization.

Beit Issie Shapiro, the 12th Israeli organization to attain the UN designation, serves 30,000 people in Israel each year, in addition to thousands of others via training, both in Israel and abroad. In 2011 it was named Israel's most effective nonprofit organization by efficiency monitor, Midot.

Issie Shapiro was a highly-regarded communal leader from Johannesburg, South Africa, who actively promoted the treatment and care of persons with special needs and their families, both in his native country, and in Israel, where he lived until his death in 1980.