We’re only now beginning to realize the “reach” of our outreach. We recently received a phone call:
“Hello, Ma’an lil-Hayat.”
“Good morning, Sir, how can I help you?”
“Well, I’m from Hebron, and I’m calling simply to say thank you. You’re the folks who visit the hospital, right?”
“Yes, indeed, we are.”
“You see, I go to the hospital every week for chemotherapy, and people from Ma’an lil-Hayat always come to visit the patients there and bring some snacks to share.”
“I’m glad that you’re happy with our visits.”
“It’s not only the food, you know. Your visits change our lives! It’s almost impossible to find a reason to smile when you’re in the middle of a chemotherapy session, and yet, when you people walk in, everyone’s mood changes. You remind us that we’re alive and that we’re able to enjoy life, even in the midst of the ordeal of chemotherapy.”
Visits to friends in a local institution
Since its establishment, Ma’an lil-Hayat has been committed to a unique form of community outreach to people with disabilities in a local residential institution. This commitment is the fruit of L’Arche International’s 30+-year history of faithfulness to a number of residents in this institution. A team of two assistants and three core members from Ma’an lil-Hayat regularly spend time visiting and animating activities with a group of our friends there, approximately 10 people, most of whom have severe disabilities. Among other things, this project enables core members from Ma’an to use their gifts and abilities to help people who are “less able” than they are and to recognize that their presence and friendship are of great value.
Sharing a spirit of welcome
Numerous local and international guests visit our community. The welcoming environment and joyful atmosphere offer an alternative view of people with intellectual disabilities who are often marginalized and looked down upon in society. Day-to-day life at Ma’an lil-Hayat introduces visitors to core members’ great capacity for welcome and friendship, among other qualities, and contributes to encouraging visitors to see the person first, rather than the disability.
Offering practical experience to university students
Ma’an lil-Hayat has entered into partnerships with a number of local universities who now send some of their students every semester for an internship experience. The students come from a variety of fields – special education, occupational therapy, social work, physical therapy, business, etc. This exposure invites students into an environment of diversity and leads them to discover the gifts that people with differing abilities can bring to community life.