Dressing in costume on Purim is a time-honored tradition, especially for kids. But wearing a costume can create a barrier for kids with disabilities who use a wheelchair or walker.
Enter Beit Issie Shapiro, an Israeli non-governmental organization that provides services and innovative therapies to people with disabilities. For the past six years, they have partnered with the Holon Institute of Technology (HIT) to make innovative costumes for children who use wheelchairs or walkers. Working together, they’ve created incredible, truly unique costumes that incorporate kids’ mobility devices!
“This special initiative was born out of a need we identified in the community; children with disabilities who use wheelchairs or walkers would have their costumes hidden by their mobility apparatus,” Noa Nitzan, director of the technology center at Beit Issie Shapiro, said in a press release. “We realized wheelchairs and walkers could elevate a costume and make them one-of-a-kind.”
Collaborating with the kids and their families, the designers at HIT helped create costumes that aren’t just visually impressive — they are also comfortable, maneuver well, and are easy for parents to put together. Their incredible creations include an El Al pilot with a plane and Batman in his Batmobile. So cool!
Beit Issie Shapiro was founded in 1980, with a mission “to create a more inclusive society across the globe by advancing the rights and equal opportunities for people with disabilities.” The NGO works with disability professionals in more than 30 countries, providing services and sharing models globally.
This costume initiative doesn’t just serve kids, who, of course, get amazing Purim costumes. It also helps HIT’s design students gain experience and sensitivity to real-world needs that they can serve, with an eye toward inclusive design.
We are absolutely in love with the innovative costumes that the students designed this year. Check them out, below:
1. Ariel and his wheelchair look incredible in this Batman costume.
2. Ronny dresses as a film director for Purim, with camera equipment attached to her wheelchair.
3. Lior looks super happy (and professional!) in this construction worker costume.
4. Brian looks seriously cool dressed as a DJ.
5. Mia looks magical in this lovely fairy costume.
6. Neria rocks the scientist look in this coronavirus lab costume.
7. Erez soars through the air in this innovative pilot costume.
8. Last but not least, Roni channels Lionel Messi in this superb soccer costume.
Header image and photos by Jordan Polevoy