Irad Eichler founded Shekulo Tov Group in 2005 with the vision to help people with psychiatric disabilities be included in society, to reach their functional goals, and to live independently in their community. Since true community integration and social inclusion depend upon having opportunities available in the mainstream society outside of the mental health system, Shekulo Tov seeks to remove social and institutional barriers, increase labour force participations, and decrease unemployment among people with disabilities, both in the public and private sector. Shekulo Tov Group has 350 employees, including more than 60 managers at different levels, and provided support and service to more than 6,000 individuals in rehabilitation.
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- Shekulo Tov
- Hybrid Social Enterprise
- Mental Health
- Areas of Impact
- Middle East & North Africa, Israel
Shekulo Tov made a breakthrough in the rehabilitation of the mentally handicapped through its vision and belief that the mentally handicapped can be independent people who take responsibility for their lives. Shekulo Tov applies a business approach to its activity and bases its existence on a model of business relationships rather than on donations.
It has created a social consumer platform by branding its products, known for their high quality, with a label that explains the manufacture of each product and by distributing them through leading market channels. Shekulo Tov operates nine enterprises and ventures, and hundreds of sales points in eight regions in Israel. For example, Paper Work is a joint Jewish-Arab enterprise that designs products from recycled paper and employs 1,000 people in eight factories. The factories manufacture chocolate, candles, soaps, paper products and sweets, and include a wide variety of training programmes both in and out of the plant. These models have created employment criteria that have been adopted by the Ministry of Health and are now becoming part of the work procedures for the rehabilitation of the mentally handicapped in Israel.
It provides employment and rehabilitation services for 3,000 mentally handicapped persons, as well as a range of cultural and recreational initiatives for 1,400 rehabilitants, including regular trips throughout Israel, bicycling groups and coffee shop gatherings.
Although Shekulo Tov’s ventures are in the fields of employment and recreation, those who participate in the rehabilitation programmes experience changes in every aspect of their lives. In addition to the positive changes in livelihoods, they also undergo changes in their interpersonal relations: communication skills improve, relations with close family are tightened, and even their standing in the family is enhanced.