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Beyond the Darkness

The blind leading the sighted ... Tali Sarnitsky, one of our best players who was born blind, teaches Zeev Bielski, Mayor of Raanana, to play bowls. Also pictured (from left) coach Lionel Samuelson, Yael Segal, Inbar Golt and coach Steve Freeman. The picture was taken at a summer program where 35 blind and visually impaired Tel Aviv children, aged from 6 to 15, were taught how to play bowls

A year ago 16 coaches for blind persons started a new lawn bowls group for blind youngsters.

We pooled our money and our time. With help from Raanana Municipality, we were given the use of the high school gymnasium.

Thanks to donations from our volunteer coaches, the Lions Club, the Raanana Masonic Lodge and private donors, mostly from the South African community which were raised by Alex Goldsmith (an international legend in blind bowling history and the founder of teaching lawn bowls to blind persons in Israel), we purchased two professional indoor bowling mats from England.

Equipment was also donated and today we are able to host eight players at one time. Because we are indoors we have air conditioning in summer and protection against wind, rain and cold in the winter.

Although bowls for the blind and visually impaired has been played worldwide (in 13 countries) for many years, this is the first time that the sport of bowls is being made accessible to blind children, youth and young adults anywhere.

It is also the first time in Israel that bowls is being played indoors on special synthetic mats.

Older blind players have joined us to enjoy these conveniences. The difference in age has a positive effect on both players and coaches.

Players and coaches come from as far away as Tel Aviv, Netanya and Hadera. We are also trainning teenage volunteer coaches from Metro West High School in Raanana.

Through this ambitious and ground-breaking project, which has the full backing of the school, we intend to teach sighted youngsters to play bowls and how to coach the blind. Our ultimate goal is that blind and sighted kids will play with and against each other with the blind kids being coached by their fellow sighted friends. 

Blind bowlers and their volunteer coaches

 High schools in Haifa and Tel Aviv are interested in implementing this program for blind lawn bowlers.

At the moment we are financially restricted but hope in the future to fulfil these requests.

Those who wish to see a film showing how blind people can bowl, please contact me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will email you a film entitled "Beyond the Darkness".

■For more information on bowling for the blind in Israel, contact Alex at Ein Dvarim Ka'eleh (054 493 5432), a non profit Israeli charity, operated entirely by volunteers, which provides a framework for Jewish, Muslim, Druze and Christian blind children to play bowls.

Related links: beyond the darkness interview with yuliya and alex guest of the month



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Saturday, 18 May 2024

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