Community of L’Arche for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Ma’an lil-Hayat (Together for Life) is a community project in Palestine based on the production of wool-felt objects by persons with intellectual disabilities. Members of Ma’an lil-Hayat make ornaments, nativity sets, and other gift items from the wool of Bethlehem sheep. Founded in July 2009, as a local branch of the International Federation of L’Arche Communities, Ma’an lil-Hayat seeks to affirm and empower people with intellectual disabilities in their claim to adulthood.
Meaningful, challenging work encourages a sense of personal responsibility and genuine participation in the building of civil society. It encourages people to acknowledge their own abilities to work as part of a team, and to acquire a greater sense of personal and communal responsibility, nevertheless it leads to a greater sense of self-respect and dignity for people with intellectual disabilities. The sale of products enables people with intellectual disabilities to receive a weekly salary, giving them a chance of contributing to the economic support of their family, increasing their self-confidence. The work and production at Ma’an lil-Hayat are a means toward the healthy integration of people with intellectual disabilities into the local community, as well as an aid to change the vision of society toward people with disabilities.