A Book of Artistic Photographs

A Unique Initiative of the Achla Organization, 2000-2007

This book was produced by Mellanox Technologies in partnership with the professional photography team of the Achla organization starting in April 2000. The Board of Directors of Achla congratulates Mellanox and its CEO, Eyal Waldman, on the occasion of the company's recent successful exit, and we hope that cooperative ventures such as this, between Mellanox and special communities, will continue in the future.

Achla, The Association for the Quality of Life for Individuals with Disabilities was founded in 2000 to help advance people with complex disabilities in all areas of life. For seven years, the organization carried out a humanistic-artistic project for young people aged 13-21 with disabilities. The majority of participants suffered from physical and cognitive disabilities, communication barriers, and verbal limitations that did not allow them to express themselves or to reveal their rich inner world. Photography was a way for them to express their remarkable world and their unique creativity, as well as their inner feelings. Their artistic creations expose us to their abundant and insightful personal world. They chose what to photograph and often designed not only the still objects that they photographed, but the plants, animals and people in their surroundings. They also chose the way in which the photographs were to be exhibited.

The photography project took place at the Beit Rachel Strauss special education school and has produced a number of impressive exhibitions, including an exhibition at the Jerusalem Theater and the Clal Insurance Company in Tel Aviv (sponsored by Clal). The products of these years are tens of thousands of special photographs from young people who were unable to use verbal communication as a tool in sharing their personal experience in the world. Photography enabled these young people to express their feelings whether through an optimistic and colorful world surrounded by the joy of life, or, as in the case of more introverted people who chose to express their feelings by photographing fences, locks, locked gates and even the covers of the sewer system. Each one brought his or her rich inner world to the community through expressive, personal photographs.

This special book was printed with the assistance of Mellanox Technologies and was dedicated to the Executive Board of Mellanox by Eyal Waldman. The book opens the door to moving encounters with the world of young people with disabilities.