The concept of ‘reverse integration’ is the core idea of Hertha Living Community. We believe that such a community between groups operating under the common conditions of society and groups in need of care and special attention enhances the quality of life of both groups. A coexistence that benefits all. An experiment with integration as a headline.
The idea of integration, of living more closely with elderly people, mentally disabled, etc., may have arisen from an unconscious sense that society needs the qualities that these people possess. If society was less divided, and if there generally was a more friendly and welcoming attitude towards “the other”, total integration would be both real and problem-free. But to place e.g. mentally disabled in a context where they are undesirable only leads to loneliness. The first basic idea of the Hertha Living Community initiative is therefore to implement a desired and mutual integration. In Hertha Living Community, we have turned the concept ‘upside down’ and asked so-called normal people to choose to integrate with adults with intellectual disabilities.
Anyone moving to the Hertha Living Community has therefore actively said yes to living in close proximity to people with mental disabilities and sees this as a special quality. In this way, we promote positive and mutual integration. Perhaps it is also an endeavor in this direction, when society has recently begun to introduce the concept of ‘inclusion’ as a substitute for ‘integration’ in the educational field. If so, it’s a very positive move. In the Living Community we do not have a specific set of rules for our activities and the scope of our ‘integration activities’. Each individual freely chooses his or her ability based on his or her own resources and position in life. Our goal of reverse integration is an expression of human intentions, and it is fueled by positive surplus forces, not by injunctions.