he first L'Arche house in Kenya is called Effatha which, in Aramaic, means “open up” or “be opened.” “Effatha” is a sacred word in both the Christian and Muslim religions. In Christianity, Jesus uses this word while restoring a deaf man’s hearing. He touches the deaf man’s ears and utters “Effatha” (Mark 7: 34). In Islam, Al-Fatiha (which is Arabic for Effatha) is the first chapter of the Qur’an and is a prayer asking God for guidance and mercy (Q. 1, Al-Fatiha, 1-7). The local community hopes that, with God’s mercy and guidance, L’Arche will help them to open up their hearts and hands, their eyes and ears to the gifts and needs of people with intellectual disabilities.

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