On Monday, April 9, a procession of over 300 marchers, including children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities under the care of ALEH, their families, caregivers, and volunteers and friends from around the globe, set out from ALEH's Jerusalem facility to cross over the Jerusalem Chords Bridge in a powerful and symbolic display to encourage the integration of Israel's disabled community within Israeli society. Israeli radio personality Ariel Berman set a celebratory tone as the event's master of ceremonies.
The festivities were capped off with singing, dancing, and a ceremony during which over 500 balloons were released into the air to signify the buoyant spirit and unrestricted potential of Israel's disabled children.
"Thanks to ALEH, severely disabled children of all ages are able to live much like their non-disabled peers: attending school, participating in vocational training programs and enjoying activities such as swimming at the beach or touring the countryside," said Shlomit Grayevsky, the founding director of ALEH Jerusalem and Assistant Director General of ALEH.
Dubbed "ALEH Marches Forward," the successful event was the organization's second annual Jerusalem march to increase public awareness of the disabled as well as the first of several events planned to mark the organization's 30th anniversary.
ALEH (www.aleh.org) is Israel’s largest network of residential facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities, providing 650 children from around Israel with high-level medical and rehabilitative care in four residential facilities. ALEH is their home and their family – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
ALEH’s goal is to enable each child, regardless of the severity of the disability, to realize his or her potential and live a quality life on par with the rest of society.
Over the last 30 years, ALEH has become a global community based on the principles of sensitivity, commitment and kindness, making a difference in the lives of Israel’s most vulnerable children and building a better, more caring world.