Project "All Our Children": Creating Bridges of Understanding and Friendship for All Children
May 10, 2010
May 10, 2010
One of ALEH’s goals is to help people with special needs integrate within the community around them. Project “All Our Children” was developed to create connection and friendship opportunities between “regular” teenagers and those with special needs. The social interaction and fantastic activity that was part of the project was extremely meaningful for all participants and onlookers, and left us all with deep hope for a better future.
Project “All Our Children” was established to meet the following purposes:
- to create opportunities for friendship between children in the community and children with special needs living in the Moriah facility
- to raise awareness amongst students regarding technological solutions and assists that improve the functional ability and quality of life for people with special needs
- to raise awareness and exposure to people with special needs, especially those with cognitive disabilities, among the healthy population
The project included a 3-series interactive workshop: First the high school students met with Ofer, an ALEH representative, who moved them all to tears with his personal story. Ofer connected them to his world and encouraged them to think and discuss various topics such as accessibility, tolerance, sensitivity, and caring for the vulnerable. The students were exposed to various issues and difficulties faced by the disabled and were fascinated by the modern technological features and devices Ofer introduced to them, showing them how they can make a significant difference in the lives of special-needs people.
The final workshop series was an exciting and colorful Activity Day spent together with Moriah’s special needs residents. With over 80 participants, Moriah’s courtyard was filled with high school students and Moriah residents working together to create huge dinosaur dolls. The dolls were a symbol of the cooperation, tolerance and friendship that the project brought with it. Future plans include opening a museum exhibit to present the artwork created and the process by which the joint work was done.
At the conclusion of the project all participants received a special “All of Our Children Badge,” which they proudly affixed on one another.
The social interaction and friendship the project created, as well as the personal glimpse into the lives of people with special needs, formed a connection between the teenagers that was heartwarming to see. In fact, following the workshop a large number of students inquired about volunteer opportunities in the facility and left us their contact information, all expressing their sincere desire to continue their association with their new friends.
We look forward to many more workshops that will help bridge societal gaps and create connections between children that overcome prejudices, stereotypes and limitations.
Partners in the “All Our Children” project include: ALEH Moriah, the Milbat Organization, the local Gedera high school, and Rotary Club.