In a testimony to Israeli caring, more than 300 marchers from the ALEH organization rallied across the Jerusalem Chords Bridge to support the cause. The organization is Israel's largest network of residential facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities.
The annual event, now in its second year, is held to increase public awareness of the disabled and encourage their integration within the community. This year marks the organization's 30th anniversary.
Marchers included the children of ALEH, their families, caregivers and volunteers and friends, who set off from the organization's Jerusalem facility. Israeli radio personality Ariel Berman served as the event's master of ceremonies.
The festivities were capped off with singing, dancing and a ceremony in which some 500 balloons were released into the air to signify the buoyant spirit and unrestricted potential of Israel's disabled children.
“[ALEH's] integration programs involving family, volunteers, school children and IDF soldiers promote acceptance and inclusion of the disabled within the community at large,” noted Shlomit Grayevsky, founding director of its Jerusalem branch, and assistant director-general of the national organization.
“As a result, ALEH's children develop far beyond the boundaries of their initial prognoses.”