Ma’an lil-Hayat (Together for Life) is the first and only community project in Palestine that brings together people with and without intellectual disabilities to engage in creative textile-arts activities and share daily life together. Founded in August 2009, in Bethlehem, Ma’an lil-Hayat is a member of the International Federation of L’Arche Communities, created in 1964 in France by Jean Vanier (see www.larche.org). Members of Ma’an lil-Hayat use the wool of Bethlehem sheep to make felted-wool ornaments, nativity scenes, and other unique gift items. The raw wool is purchased from women shepherds in a village on the outskirts of Bethlehem.
Ma’an lil-Hayat seeks to affirm and empower people with intellectual disabilities in their claim to adulthood. Meaningful, challenging activities encourage a sense of personal responsibility and genuine participation in the building of civil society.