Sofia Klein
Sofia Klein
Defining Social-Tech With A Social Girl

When Poor Transportation Limits Social Interaction

When Poor Transportation Limits Social Interaction: In collaboration with Hilma - Social Tech for Impact, Shalva is working to improve its transportation organization and accessibility for after-school program participants.

Social interaction is arguably the most essential aspect of childhood development. As highly impressionable beings, a child’s surrounding environment can have a profound impact on their self-esteem, independence, maturity, and especially their ability to communicate with others. Thus, children are encouraged to participate in a variety of social activities, such as sports teams, art classes, and youth groups. Unfortunately, when a child has special needs, their options for social interaction become more limited than those of the average child. The Shalva National Center, however, serves as a safe, inclusive, and accommodating space for those with cognitive and physical disabilities. Regardless of religion, ethnic background, or financial capability, Shalva provides equal access and opportunity to social and recreational activities for all its participants, from infancy to adulthood. 

With so many activities available for disabled Isreali youth, participants and their families are eager to absorb all that Shalva has to offer. Consequently, the commute to Shalva’s Jerusalem location isn’t easily accessible to all individuals. Despite past efforts to organize transportation systems for Shalva participants, they proved inefficient, unorganized, and confusing. In collaboration with Shalva, Hilma – Tech for Social Impact has developed the application, Shalva-Rides, to combat this pressing issue.

Shalva-Rides is a systematic carpool and tracking system designed to transport children with special needs to and from the Shlava Center. With nearly 300 children attending Shalva’s after-school activity programming everyday, Shalva-Rides ensures that all participants are accounted for. The Shalva-Rides application updates and monitors all incoming and outgoing shuttles, participant attendance, and administrative  information. 

Now, families and Shalva staff can confidently rely on a safe and secure transportation system for young Shalva participants. Despite one’s disabilities, Israeli children are able to take part in a wide variety of accessible, interactive, and social activities, further influencing them during their early stages of childhood development.

 

About the Author
Sofia Klein has always felt a strong pull towards Israeli culture and community. Having grown up in West Bloomfield, Michigan, her Jewish background compelled her to venture to Israel in an attempt to fulfill her life-long plans of further understanding her Jewish roots. With an additional love for business and all things art related, advertising and marketing proved to be her ideal career. Meshed with her Jewish identity, Sofia put her professional interests to the test by applying for various jobs within Israel. After securing an internship at Hilma - Social Tech for Impact, Sofia was deeply inspired by the seemingly endless array of opportunities her new, high-tech family not only offered her, but the entire country of Israel. Now a proud, yet temporary member of the Hilma team, Sofia’s blog aims to expand Hilma's impact and education through various media platforms. (Sofia Klein is a rising Junior at Kalamazoo College. She is currently pursuing a major in Business with a creative focus. Sofia also has a concentration in Judaic Studies and one day hopes to make Aliyah) About Hilma: Backed by nearly 80 individuals, ranging between the ages of 18 and 23, Hilma aims to develop and craft innovative applications and solutions in the areas of welfare, education and health for disadvantaged populations and social organizations. Hilma’s solutions not only tackle social issues, but also have a measurable business model with economic feasibility.
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