Lifegate in May 2021

31. May 2021

Unfort­u­na­te­ly, we cannot speak of a blissful month of May this time, more of a month in which we were all real­ly shaken; a month that brought Jeru­sa­lem, Isra­el, the Gaza Strip and the Pales­ti­ni­an Auto­no­mous Terri­to­ries back into the conscious­ness of the world public and in which to this day the after-effects for one side or the other can be seen in the demons­tra­ti­ons in many count­ries. We are frigh­ten­ed by the many anti-Semi­tic riots, espe­ci­al­ly in the USA. Why are Jewish peop­le always atta­cked and made respon­si­ble for things that happen in Isra­el? That happens to no other peop­le in the world and proba­b­ly has some­thing to do with the darkest chap­ters in world histo­ry. The wounds of these 11 bad days in May are still open, many peop­le here on the Israe­li and Pales­ti­ni­an side are very unsett­led. You think about your routes careful­ly and avoid (if you can) to visit cities, streets and resi­den­ti­al areas that are clas­si­fied as dange­rous. It helps and is a conso­la­ti­on that there are so many peop­le who join hands, who did not split despi­te the bad news and who are still on the move for peace and coexis­tence. We are part of them, as is the Israe­li tele­vi­si­on, which plays many small clips about the common and very important coexis­tence of Jews and Arabs in this country.

Today (Wednes­day May 26th) I was with Hala, who is well on the way to beco­ming a young lady, and her brot­her for another check-up appoint­ment at the Israe­li Shaarei Zedek Hospi­tal in Jeru­sa­lem. It has been one year since Hala’s spine was correc­ted by an Israe­li surge­on. All rods fixed to the spine are stable and all screws are in place, as the current X‑ray confirm­ed. Hala can now recei­ve thera­py again and does not have to be checked again for six months. The surge­on, Dr. Arzi, was very plea­sed with the good result and Hala’s state­ment that she is in no pain. A young person is now real­ly uplifted and we are also very grateful for the sign of peace and toge­ther­ness in diffi­cult times. At Lifegate, Hala will soon learn to use an elec­tric wheel­chair to be inde­pen­dent. She conti­nues to attend our special school and deve­lo­ps in all direc­tions to the delight of the fami­ly and our team. She conti­nues to attend our special school and deve­lo­ps in all direc­tions to the delight of the fami­ly and our team. (Pictu­red: Hala and Dr. Arzi befo­re surgery in 2020)

Two new support clas­ses are to be opened in the school after the summer holi­days (which start in mid-July and last until the end of August). One class for child­ren with seve­re multi­ple disa­bi­li­ties and another class for child­ren with diffe­rent disa­bi­li­ties, in which there will again be some autis­tic child­ren. One kinder­gar­ten class will also beco­me a school class when the child­ren reach the age of 6. We will short­ly be desig­ning the class­rooms for the new clas­ses accor­din­gly and are happy to be able to purcha­se the thera­py mate­ri­als for this expan­si­on through the fund­rai­sing campaign in Bergisch Glad­bach. This means that the number of special school child­ren who attend one of our 11 clas­ses every day will increase to 134. We would also like to use mixed teams of thera­pists and teachers in the new clas­ses. Appli­cants are being inter­view­ed. Appli­cants are being inter­view­ed. Our on-site finan­cing system enables us to gene­ra­te part of the neces­sa­ry funds for on-site staff.

Pictu­red: New room design for child­ren with the most seve­re disabilities

Two young men are still giving us a litt­le heada­che. They will gradua­te from school this year at the age of 15 and cannot begin appro­pria­te trai­ning in our work­shops due to their seve­re physi­cal limi­ta­ti­ons (CP). Last year we had to lay off two young men from school for the same reason without another perspec­ti­ve. That hurts us very much after all the good years of support in kinder­gar­ten and school that we inves­ted, and for the disap­poin­ted parents, who proba­b­ly hoped that their child­ren could stay fore­ver. We now want to sit down with all the parents and discuss ideas in a brain­stor­ming sessi­on. In a coun­try without any govern­ment support, a purely “protec­ti­ve work­shop”, where young peop­le only do simp­le things, must be fully finan­ced. In addi­ti­on, work­shops in which peop­le with disa­bi­li­ties work (such as in Germa­ny) do not recei­ve any exter­nal orders, as local compa­nies them­sel­ves are happy if they can use their own work force and do not outsour­ce anything. So we need the appro­pria­te space, bril­li­ant ideas, what these young peop­le could produ­ce in the simp­lest possi­ble way and a market to sell these products. For the parents, it’s not even about remu­ne­ra­ti­on, but about a shel­te­red place where their young peop­le can spend a few hours a day so that the fami­ly can take a deep breath. Maybe we can win the parents over to a coope­ra­ti­ve in which they take respon­si­bi­li­ty them­sel­ves. We are very happy to recei­ve ideas from our readers, also regar­ding possi­ble products! (Pictu­red: Zein, a young man with seve­re spas­tic paralysis)

Issa, a young man from our trai­ning work­shops, will now do an intern­ship twice a week in an alumi­num compa­ny in Beit Jala, which builds windows and doors. In this case, with the help of the parents, we succee­ded in winning over the rela­ti­ve owner to give our „trai­nee” a chan­ce. We very much hope that this intern­ship may lead to a perma­nent posi­ti­on as an assistant in this company.

More young peop­le will finish their trai­ning with us in July and we will report on them as soon as possible.

After two years, our German ortho­pe­dic mecha­nic Simon Röss­ler’s time also expi­res in June. We are very reluc­tant to let go the tech­ni­cal­ly very compe­tent and friend­ly young man, who helped many child­ren and adults with good ortho­pe­dic care. At the begin­ning of his work, Simon and we had no idea what time was ahead of us with Coro­na and now also with the poli­ti­cal situa­ti­on. Simon often had to take a break or work from home based on the secu­ri­ty assess­ments made by his employ­er (GIZ, Fede­ral Foreign Office). Not a round year, rather a big puzzle that he and we had to put toge­ther again and again, but we still achie­ved a nice result. We thank Simon from the bottom of our hearts for his pati­ence, flexi­bi­li­ty and great work and the GIZ team for this wonderful support! Pictu­red: Simon at work. Thank good­ness there is an appli­cant for this field of work for the future, and we would be very happy if it worked.

To our delight, we welco­med the first indi­vi­du­al guests in a year to the Lifegate Garden Guest­house. We are still in the process of working through some of the requi­re­ments of the civil protec­tion autho­ri­ties that contri­bu­te to the buil­ding secu­ri­ty of the guest house. Two emer­gen­cy stairs from the first floor have to be instal­led as escape routes to the outside, and some chan­ges are also neces­sa­ry in the dining room. The work has star­ted and should be comple­ted by mid-June. If, accor­ding to the latest reports, the (vacci­na­ted) tourism should be possi­ble again in our coun­try start­ing June, we hope to be able to welco­me guests and visi­tors soon! Pictu­red: Lifegate Garden Guesthouse

Thanks to GIZ, the first machi­nes and equip­ment in our newly built bakery are due to be deli­ver­ed in June. The entry of a German baker should then be tech­ni­cal­ly possi­ble after the opening of air traf­fic. We are still looking for a suita­ble person (who can also be reti­red), who would enjoy the task to get our bakery going toge­ther with a local baker for three months at first (Septem­ber to Novem­ber). Pictu­red: A wooden grain mill from Austria in our bakery.

We are very happy to report that the funds for 1/5 of the neigh­bor­ing proper­ty that we want to acqui­re have alre­a­dy been dona­ted. This gives us hope and coura­ge to move on and try to find more peop­le to help. Many thanks to ever­yo­ne who has made this possi­ble! (Pictu­red: brown earth and olive trees)

We would like to thank you very much for all calls, e‑mails, messa­ges and inqui­ries and your pray­ers in the last few weeks! This show­ed us that we are not alone even in crisis situa­tions and that our friends think of us. That was a great support for us!

Many publi­ca­ti­ons from the Midd­le East do not always meet with appr­oval in days of conflict. We stri­ve to pass on infor­ma­ti­on from the local free press as a supple­ment to the foreign media reports and thus invi­te the reader to get a more compre­hen­si­ve pictu­re and perhaps to do a litt­le more perso­nal rese­arch. Howe­ver, we do not want to and cannot plea­se ever­yo­ne with our local infor­ma­ti­on. Of cour­se, these too are some­ti­mes not balan­ced, and we are confron­ted with peop­le and emoti­ons in Isra­el and in the Pales­ti­ni­an terri­to­ries on a daily basis. We try to avoid accu­sa­ti­ons, one-sided partis­an­ship and “inge­nious solutions”.

We always want to contri­bu­te to non-violence, to listening to and getting to know one another and to recon­ci­lia­ti­on within our small, mana­geable frame­work. For many years, Life­ga­te’s work has been a small but stable bridge between peop­le who are unfort­u­na­te­ly often enemies!

I wish us and you from the bottom of my heart the peace that Jesus Christ brought into our world and that is more rele­vant to me today than ever!

We „chase” after him (Psalm 34:15) and to him God has called us (1 Corin­thi­ans 7:15).

Salam, Shalom

Burg­hard Schun­kert and the Lifegate Team