On November 16th the following article by Janina Hardung about the work of Lifegate and the German support association Tor zum Leben e.V. appeared in the newspaper „Schwetzinger Zeitung”:
People with disabilities are often not really seen and live on the margins of society. In the West Bank this is even more extreme than in Germany, for example. That is why the non-profit association „Tor zum Leben – Lifegate Rehabilitation” supports the work in the West Bank from Germany – that is the basic idea. But there’s more to it than that.
Michael Müller has been a member of the board of directors of the association for many years and has presented the work in Beit Jala and the constantly growing network in the adult education centre (VHS) showing many pictures. Actually, this was supposed to be a lecture evening. But due to the corona virus, it had to be cancelled.
In the run-up to Christmas, the VHS always chooses a project or an association to which it will provide support. That is why the products from Palestine will be available there in the coming weeks. These include an olive oil from Samaria – and also handicrafts by the local people with disabilities.
Building many bridges
Lifegate has been working for almost 30 years in Beit Jala, the centre and heart of an extensive rehabilitation network. Under the roof of the Lifegate Centre, which was opened in 2017, there are workshops, therapy and school rooms, a restaurant and the administration. „We are working at the interface of three world religions with their demands on the city of Jerusalem and we want to build as many small bridges as possible between hostile camps and make reconciliation possible,” says Michael Müller. The organization needs the money for orthopedic aids, for example. „The children are still growing, so the prostheses or wheelchairs have to be adapted,” he says. Michael Müller did his community service abroad in the 1990s, and many young people did the same during this time. That is why Lifegate has a big network all over the world.
„People with disabilities have a low social standing. By working in the workshops – for example for embroidering bags – their standing rises within the family and society,” says Müller. Thus, for a „peace process from below”, a commitment to joint responsibility and solidarity for active inclusion arises – that is the motto of the association. Help for self-help becomes alive, is recognized and promoted in this center.
Among others, the Lutheran parishes Brühl, Ketsch and Schwetzingen, the Roman Catholic parish Brühl/Ketsch, the Lutheran Diaconic Association and the Lutheran Adult Education Center Rhein-Neckar-Süd, the Lebenshilfe Region Mannheim/Schwetzingen/Hockenheim as well as Bildung & Begegnung Palästina mit Lifegate Rehabilitation (Education & Encounter Palestine).
Waltraud Kieber-Weiblen from the lutheran church community of Brühl has also been there herself – and brought pictures with her. „In three trips, my husband and I have seen many things. It was very interesting and impressive, but you have to be tough. That’s why we wanted to do something and we are now helping to make it better known,” she explains. Lebenshilfe, which has been united since July and is now called Region Mannheim/Schwetzingen/Hockenheim, is facing similar challenges. Managing Director Kristina Funk not only sees the parallel in the name of the associations with the word „life” – the scope of duties is similar. „We allow the diversity of life in every possible way. Actually, we also plan trips, which is why Lifegate is so interesting for us. Unfortunately, we have to put that on hold for the time being,” she says.
Müller also notices the lack of tourism. Palestine is a magnet for visitors. They have also leased a guest house there, which is located next to a former monastery. There, disadvantaged, mainly young locals work in the service. There, too, the income is now lacking. To support Lifegate, by the way, interested parties do not have to be members of the association.
Article in original
Here you can download the original article as pdf-document. Many thanks to the Schwetzinger Zeitung!
- Contact persons: Christine Mohr and Cecilia Monsalve
- Address: Albert-Einstein-Strasse 25g, 97941 Tauberbischofsheim
- Telephone: 0049–9341-8463720 or 0049–151-55027777
- Fax: 0049–9341-8463722