Jerusalem, Israel - May 23, 2019 - In 2008, IDF soldier Amit Dafni was wounded near the Egyptian border and airlifted to Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva. For eight days he remained in a medically induced coma before being transferred to Sheba Hospital for rehabilitation. After one year in hospital, the wounded soldier received treatments daily for another four to five years. Eleven years after the tragic training accident in which he was injured, Dafni is a lawyer, married, and has a baby daughter. He says he has learned to live with his injuries. However, the weakness in his left arm and elbow prevents him from doing simple tasks with his child, such as lifting her from the bath.
Dafni was one of nineteen injured soldiers in the south Tel Aviv WeWorks Impact Lab for a ReStart/TOM Make-a-thon, held from May 21-23, 2019. Two hundred volunteers from nineteen sponsoring companies gathered to work for three days, day and night, to produce a product and solution to correct a specific injury.
Team Amit, included seven engineers from Singer-Instruments and Control, led by Liran Ankri. They collaborated to make an elastic support sock which enables Dafni to bend his elbow. Plus, Team Amit crafted the device to be discrete enough to be worn under a long sleeve shirt when Dafni appears in court.
Already active in nineteen countries, TOM - Tikun Olam Makers, has become a global movement of communities creating and providing affordable, specific solutions for people who are often neglected, challenged in some way, or living with disabilities, as well as the elderly, and the poor. Gidi Grinstein, founder and president of the non-profit Reut Group, has a long list of accomplishments. His vision is for TOM to assist 250,000,000 people all over the world in the next ten years.
In the WeWork Impact Lab in Tel Aviv, TOM has partnered with ReStart, an organization which helps injured Israel Defense Force soldiers, in a project called Makers for Heroes. The needs vary with each individual project in this 9,000 square foot space. Medical devices and innovation are accelerated for rapid development.
ReStart CEO Niv Efron was selected as one of the plenary presenters at the recent AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, and initiated this important joint venture with TOM.
As one of the sponsors, AT&T Foundry's stated mission reads "where engineers, designers, developers and business experts test and build prototypes for real-world solutions. We explore new territory with startups, technology collaborators and enterprise customers. We drive innovation from concept to commercialization." It is a perfect fit with ReStart and TOM.
Outside of the WeWork Building, Ofer HaCohen, general manager of AT&T Foundry - Amdocs, Innovation in Israel, shared his excitement to be a part of this third Makers for Heroes Make-a-thon.
At the Make-a-Thon was one IDF soldier, originally from France, who lost a hand and was being fitted with a device so he could hold a shovel again and go back to his love of working the land and gardening.
Team Yosef was one group of volunteers not from the same company, and included a female volunteer from Sheba Hospital. Yosef Abramson grew up in a musical family, playing several instruments. During active service in Operation Protective Edge, Abramson was injured in his arm by shrapnel from a shattered glass window. Today, though mostly healed, the young musician suffers from nerve damage in one hand. Team Yosef was busy at work on creating a device for him. Abramson said, Makers for Heroes is helping me to play instruments again. That important part of life was put aside, and now I am anxious to get back to it."
As is often the case when the army is involved, much of the activity, including personnel busy at work on the amazing devices being developed in the Impact Lab at Makers for Heroes, were not allowed to be photographed.
Hearing about ReStart during the AIPAC Conference, before leaving Israel, the Yeshivah of Flatbush Chesed Mission, led by Rabbi Tully Besser, came to see the impressive work of Makers for Heroes for themselves.
Not only are the devices made by unpaid volunteers, but they specifically are not patented for private profit. All designs go into the public domain. This is true Tikun Olam, chesed, spreading from Israel to help the world.
A sign on the wall over the Team Amit worktable stated, "Your life has purpose/ Your story is important/ Your dreams count/ You were born to make an IMPACT." Something as simple as giving a baby a bath can be a dream come true.