ELIYA – General Information

Organization background

For the past thirty years, ELIYA has been the leading organization operating unique programs for blind and visually impaired children and their families throughout Israel. As a result of its professional experience and achievements, Eliya is now considered a leading center of its kind in the world.

Starting with one group of 6 children in 1982, Eliya today provides programs for hundreds of children in three centers:

Central branch – for the entire central region of Israel.

Southern branch –for the entire south of Israel.

Jerusalem Branch – for Israel’s capital and surrounding areas.

The organization’s goals

  • To prepare blind and visually impaired children for integration into the mainstream education system and the general community.
  • To prepare blind and visually impaired children who have multiple development challenges, for integration into the facilities most suited to their individual abilities and needs.
  • To strengthen the families in a way that will help them promote their children in an effective and constructive manner.

Rehabilitative program – six days a week

This program, emphasizing orientation and mobility techniques as well basic reading skills and social interaction, enables every child to fulfill his full individual potential. The program includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, music therapy, hydrotherapy, therapeutic horseback riding, shiatsu, massage and small pet therapy.

Parent and Baby program

Eliya operates once a week a therapy, support and counseling program for babies up to a year old and their parents.

Family support program

ELIYA has a central role in the development of each child, yet the family is the blind and visually impaired child’s main source of support. Many resources are directed towards individual and group counseling sessions, given by selected professional therapists.


In September 2003 ELIYA opened a hydrotherapy center adjacent at the Petah Tikva branch. The pool serves all 60 children in the branch, once a week, throughout the year. Children from the Jerusalem and Beer Sheva branches enjoy similar hydrotherapy activity in off – campus pools.

Summer Day-Camp for ELIYA graduates

ELIYA graduates who are integrated into mainstream schools are unable to derive sufficient benefit and enjoyment from most of the regular community summer day – camps. ELIYA has developed a special day-camp program that takes place every year in July for graduates ages 5-13.

Evaluation and teaching Programs

This program is available for organizations throughout the country which need assistance in working with young multi-challenged children with vision loss.

Rehabilitation Teachers

A new service available for young blind and visually impaired children in their homes and kindergartens.

Additional Programs

  • Organizing and operating a yearly 4-day vacation, for 15 families of a blind or visually impaired child.
  • Operating evaluation services for visually impaired young children who are not at one of the ELIYA centers.
  • Holding seminars for students and professionals in the field of visual impairment.


The ELIYA staff is very large, since blind children can only learn through speech and physical contact. On the other hand, the organization tries to keep the number of administrative workers very low. The current chairman was the CEO, in a full time voluntary capacity, from 1991 – 2009 and won the President of Israel Award for Volunteerism in the year 2005.


ELIYA is a nonprofit association, with the supervision and partial funding Ministries of Welfare, Health and Education. ELIYA raises one-third of its annual budget of approximately 9,000,000 N.I.S. from foundations, the business sector and private donors.

Donations to the organization

Donations to ELIYA are recognized for tax purposes in Israel, the USA and England.



Friends of ELIYA usa: http://eliyausa.org

ELIYA Milestones

1982      ELIYA was established by a group of parents of blind children and their teacher, Batya Sherf.

1988      The first program for multi-challenged children is introduced.

1994      Eliya moves to its  permanent home in Petach Tikva, the first building in Israel specifically designed to meet the needs of young blind and visually impaired children.

1996      The Family Holiday program gets under way.

1997      The first Graduates Summer Day Camp takes place.

1998      The branch in Beer Sheva is opened.

1999      Eliya launches its Parent-and-Baby program.

2000     The Be’er Sheva center moves to specially renovated premises.

2001      The branch in Jerusalem is opened.

2003      A second building, housing Eliya’s Hydrotherapy program, is opened at the Petach Tikva center.

2005      Michael Segal, CEO of Eliya, receives the President of Israel’s Award for volunteerism.

2006     The Jerusalem center moves to specially renovated premises.

2007      Batya Sherf, the founder of Eliya and its professional director for the past 25 years, retires from her position.

2010      A new CEO takes the place of Michael Segal, who becomes Chairman of the Board.

2012  Rehabilitative instruction teacher’s program is started, across the country, for children up to age 3.