Ayat Sand, 21, a Palestinian member of L'Arche, holds a Nativity set made from felted wool, from Bethlehem sheep at the Ma'an lil-Hayat.

CNS PHOTO | DEBBIE HILL

Ayat Sand, 21, a Palestinian member of L'Arche, holds a Nativity set made from felted wool, from Bethlehem sheep at the Ma'an lil-Hayat.

December 16, 2013
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK – Activity was in full swing at the Ma'an lil-Hayat workshop as 16 adults shaped felted wool into round balls for a large order of sheep to fill people's Nativity scenes.

Ma'an lil-Hayat is part of the L'Arche network for people with intellectual disabilities.

The workshop takes a local resource closely associated with the Christmas story but normally burned – sheep wool – and uses it to bring dignity to a population often overlooked in Palestinian society.

As well as gnomes and Nativity scenes, workers produce wool felted coin purses and Christmas ornaments, said Mahera Nassar Ghareeb, director and founder of Ma'an lil-Hayat – Arabic for Together for Life.

The Christmas decorations are available via the Internet (www.maanlilhayat.ps).