JNF UK brings Olympic hero’s inclusive vision to London schools

There aren’t many challenges greater than competing in the Olympics, or tougher than hiking up Mount Everest.  To most people, these might seem like impossible dreams. But how much harder would they be if you were blind?

This is the situation that Gai Ben Dor has been describing to 300 school children in London. While Ben Dor has previously given his inspiring presentation to high-profile audiences include Nike, Ebay, and the Israeli Olympic Committee, this week he was speaking as part of our ongoing commitment to boost Israel education in Jewish schools.

Ben Dor’s remarkable story began when he found himself answering a mysterious online advert that simply stated: “Wanted: A Runner with Soul.” This is how he found himself in touch with Beza, who was looking for help to start running. The catch? Not only had Beza never run before – he was also completely blind.

What happened next would change both their lives. Ben Dor and his father began training Beza, accompanying him on ever longer runs. Only two years later they completed a full marathon, running 42 kilometres while attached with a wrist strap.

For many this would have been enough, but for Beza and Ben Dor it was only the beginning. They began taking part in regular marathons, before successfully qualifying for the 2008 Paralympics in Bejing. Beza had gone from only dreaming of being able to run to competing on the global stage, and Ben Dor had – literally – been with him every step of the way.

The sky was the limit – as they proved with their next project. Beza expressed an interest in climbing a mountain, which led them to hiking up Everest. Taking on conditions that would have tested even the hardiest of able-bodied individuals, they eventually made it to the top. Beza’s verdict? “It was worth it for the view!”

These achievements highlight valuable lessons about perseverance in the face of obstacles. We’re very grateful to Gai Ben Dror for taking the time to share his story and inspire the next generation to follow in his footsteps. You can find out more about his work here.