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L’Arche founder: “they taught me to discover what it is to be a human being”

L’Arche founder: “they taught me to discover what it is to be a human being”

Bethlehem – On Thursday December 10, 2015, Ma’an lil-Hayat – L’Arche Bethlehem organized an evening entitled “Encountering the Other” with its founder Jean Vanier.

The evening was highlighted by songs and a play prepared and acted by people with intellectual disabilities. Throughout the play, the audience was able to get a glimpse of the life of the founder and the difficult circumstances he endured and overcame to establish the centre of Ma’an lil-Hayat (Together for Life) in Palestine.

Afterwards, the Canadian-born Jean Vanier shared his experience through his reflections on the last 50 years of working with disabled people. He said “I have had the privilege to discover many mysteries, simple mysteries, one of which I discovered is that not only people with disabilities are beautiful people but they have something to teach each one of us. They have a message of peace”.

Filled with emotions he added, “they taught me to discover what it is to be a human being… to love people is not just to do good to them but also to reveal something, to reveal to you that you are precious, you are important, you are a human being made by God and made for God. You might have disabilities but you also have abilities”.

Ma’an lil-Hayat Centre was founded in Bethlehem in 2009. The Centre is part of the L’Arche Internationle founded by Jean Vanier in France in 1964, which aims to include people with disabilities in the local community and to change people’s perceptions on them.

Saher Kawas

Photos by: Nadera Saleh