AMBASSADORS FOR CHANGE
Anael, who was born blind, began singing at age 5. Originally from France, the family came to Israel when she was 8. Singing was the tool Anael used to adjust to her new school, it allowed her to stand out even though she didn’t yet speak the language. She dreams of growing more independent, and more confident in front of an audience. She plans to study psychology, with an emphasis on trauma counseling. She describes Shalva as a place that gives, and gives so much that you just want to give along with it. And so she chose to do her National Service at Shalva.
“Music is everything. It’s my home. It’s a hug. I connect to myself and to others through music. It’s me!”
Born in Manipur, India, Dina came to Israel at age 10. Dina got her musical talents from her mother, a guitarist, and learned Hebrew through singing. Friendly and personable, Dina captivates audiences with her warmth and beautiful voice. Despite being blind, Dina says she feels the light and the happiness that the audiences radiate, which makes her feel equal. Dina is currently a National Service volunteer at Shalva and dreams of a successful music career.
“It is important for me not only to receive, but to give back. Shalva is my home and the tools that I got here will be used in my future.”
RAP AND PERCUSSIONS
Yair grew up in Shalva’s programs and returned to Shalva as an adult, working in the coffee shop and playing in the band. Visitors to Café Shalva can see him enthusiastically waiting tables, with a broad smile on his face. An electrician’s assistant by trade, Yair has strong opinions and is an avid follower of politics.
“I’m so happy playing the drums.”
Yosef, who has Williams’ Syndrome, has attended Shalva programming from age 7 and considers Shalva home. Yosef joined the Shalva band as a singer and when his voice changed, he turned to drumming. Today he’s become so professional at it, that he teaches his instructors things. Music enables Yosef to fulfill his personal dreams, and being in the band is a big part of his life.
“Music lights up my life, music makes me equal.”
Tal, who has Down syndrome, has been attending Shalva since age 6, and it was in music therapy that his talent for the drums was discovered. Tal’s hobby is learning songs in sign language and he often accompanies the soloists in sign language to the delight of the audience. His dream is to serve in the IDF and we hope he will fulfill it.
“It’s my favorite thing to do!”
VOCALS AND KEYBOARD
A graduate of Music Composition at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, Guy didn’t let his visual impairment prevent him from finishing college, without any shortcuts. In spite of his disability and the difficulty it entails, today he’s a well-known keyboardist on the Israeli music scene.
Sara volunteered at Shalva for many years and joined the band while doing her National Service at Shalva. She has been playing the guitar since she was 13 and today is a talented musician. Sara has toured internationally with the band and as everyone’s best friend and confidant, she ensures that their social and emotional needs are effectively met.
“Music mirrors what we have inside and helps bring out each person’s magic.”
Shai Ben Shushan
Shai has been directing the Shalva Band for 12 years. Shai was part of an elite army unit when he suffered a life-threatening injury 13 years ago. Through the rehabilitative process, he appreciated everyone who helped him along the way and once back to himself, decided it was time to give back to the community. Shai has developed the band into a professional band and opened doors for them in the highest places. For him, music creates a common language that connects the world of special education to the cultural world at large.
“It’s so moving to see that they have become talented and professional musicians and stand together with any musician out there. The Shalva Band is a personal rehabilitation for me.”