Shop for Meaning

20 January 2010 11:02 by SarainAkko

We came across a fantastic fair-trade shop within the Old City the other day. Aside from functioning as an occupational training center for adults with special needs there are some pretty neat things like artwork and wares by other fair-trade practicing craftsmen and artists with a variety of disabilities or impairments . Unlike other rehabilitation centers that are just "simulating" work experiences "Shop for Meaning" teaches the participants to manage the store with help and guidance where needed.(I'll link the store when their site goes up fully)

The idea of dignified work for all and assisting people to provide for themselves reminded me of Yad LaKashish or Lifeline for the Old in Jerusalem that now employs 300 elderly poor and mostly immigrants in supporting themselves with dignity well into their old age. The thing that I have always loved about visiting the workshops of Lifeline is that they find a use, a purpose, for every member of the organization even as age advances, motor skills diminish, disability overcomes youth and vigor… these people arrive every morning happy to be of use when they would otherwise be overlooked and marginalized by society.

In a country that is well known for its lack of tact, being chronically un-PC, I get really excited to see Israelis working together in innovative ways with a savvy business slant that allows me to take home a small piece of the meaning from the gift shop at the end of the tour.

There should always be a gift shop at the end of the tour!

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