OpenMinds aims to spread awareness and acceptance of special needs throughout the community via innovative initiatives. The aim of the various events is to target all community members of all ages in a direct, positive, and fun manner, thereby explaining what special needs are. Projects have ranged from hosting a red carpet style movie festival, “Special People at the Movies”, featuring classical movies which address various challenges, to manufacturing and distributing fortune cookies with very specialized messages explaining and demystifying autism to middle school aged children. OpenMinds has supported a specialized summer camp in order to provide special needs children a healthy and fun summer experience, just like everyone else. We have also partnered with other NGOs to provide international training for the Association of Scouts of Lebanon (SDL) and Guides of Lebanon (GDL), with the aim of preparing staff and scouts for dealing with special needs children.
Our most ambitious project will be the creation of a model, porous community in which those with special needs can live, learn, and work with volunteers and members of society, building the first incubator of true integration. OpenMinds board members envision such a community to be a beacon of model citizenship, adding great value in terms of goods and services provided to its neighboring community. A plot of land of 7100sqm in breathtaking surroundings has been donated by the family of a founding member, and placed at the disposal of OpenMinds to make this dream a reality and a first in the Middle East!