Nonprofit or community organization
Last modified: October 11, 2011, 2:01 PM
More than 200,000 Arab persons with disabilities live in Israel. They face a lack of essential public resources and services, and suffer widespread social exclusion and discrimination.
Al-Manarah, which in Arabic means "Lighthouse," was initiated in 2005 by a group of grassroots activists led by Abbass Abbass, who is himself a person with a visual impairment. A licensed attorney and social entrepreneur, Mr. Abbass has transformed leadership, dignity and empowerment from simple ideas to ways of living. Al-Manarah aims at advancing the status of Arab persons with disabilities in Israel and is the first Arab organization of its kind. Each year, thousands of persons with disabilities and more than 5,000 non-disabled persons from Arab communities throughout Israel benefit from Al-Manarah's services, trainings, and activities.
Vision: With encouragement, guidance and the requisite technical resources, disabled persons of Israel's Arab community can develop skills to participate within society not as a disenfranchised minority, but as confident citizens offering distinct and vital contributions. Al-Manarah works to enable Arab persons with disabilities to set an agenda for their own learning, realize their full potential, and contribute within a vibrant community of capable and determined peers. This empowered cadre of Arab persons with disabilities thereby emerge as leaders within a strengthened and more diverse public sphere.
Al-Manarah works to empower persons with disabilities and helps them to become their own strongest advocates in order to change attitudes towards persons with disabilities in the Arab society. Our empowerment groups foster self-awareness and decision making among persons with disabilities while Al-Manarah's professional staff provide holistic support and rights consultation through our phone-assistance line. Al-Manarah's Library for the Print Disabled offers a broad range of Arabic-language audio, Braille, large-print and electronic resources to provide the print-disabled with essential tools of self-actualization, and lay foundations for a lifetime of personal and professional discovery. Through extensive workshops, seminars and the distribution of educational materials, Al-Manarah also works with families and a wider community of non-disabled stakeholders – including students, teachers, professionals, businesses, and the media – to open Arab society to the world of persons with disabilities. Furthermore, Al-Manarah works to ensure accessibility and compliance with human rights law through strategic legal advocacy and litigation on behalf of Arab persons with disabilities. Our Multi-Use Center
In October 2008, Al-Manarah established its Multi-Use Center for Arab persons with disabilities in Nazareth, providing a dynamic space for life-skills trainings, educational seminars, and group empowerment activities. The Multi-Use Center features an accessible computer room, with two Braille printers, as well as ten computers adapted with screen readers and two Braille displays. In addition, the Multi-Use Center includes a recording studio for the production of professional-quality audio books.