In the first of a series of upcoming posts on the 10 categories of vulnerable children, as outlined by the Ugandan government, we will look at Children with Disabilities and how Sixty Feet is working to help them. Today’s post is from Emily Ryan, one of our staff serving the children in Uganda.
You may well be wondering why children with disabilities are kept in a facility with those who have potentially committed a crime. We have wondered the same. The sad reality is that there are few, if any, alternatives in a society where they are viewed as not of any value and are often abandoned by family members to the streets. It is one more reason why we are grateful for our partnership with the Ugandan government and that they allow us to serve these seriously deserving children.
The staff at Sixty Feet recently had the amazing opportunity to resettle 11 children with disabilities and special needs out of prisons and other facilities and into schools where they will be protected, taught life skills, advocated for, and most importantly, valued and loved.
These children have been at the bottom of the totem pole. They are abandoned, living in prisons and orphanages because no one can seem to find them a way out. Some of them have been living in these facilities for over 8 years. Most of them were abandoned due to the stigma of having a disability. However, all of them were created in God’s image and all of them are His beloved children.
We saw new friendships forged. Existing students took the hands of these new students and led them to their new beds, helped them unpack their belongings, and called them friend. One of the children, not fully understanding what was happening because she speaks a language from another country, looked at our social worker, who can understand the language, and with the biggest smile and most sincere voice, said, “I am staying here. I am not going back with you.” She was overjoyed to be in her new school. Within 30 minutes of being there, she felt valued, loved, and accepted.
These are the kids that stand-out the most when teams come to visit. These are children that have intense medical, emotional, and physical needs. These are the kids who now have their own beds, their own school uniforms, their own clothes, their own pajamas. They have teachers, mamas, and nurses whose goal is to love and care for them. Our prayer is that they will thrive in their new environments, that the Lord will heal their hearts from past traumas and reveal Himself and His love to them.
The process of getting these children into school was long, but worth every minute. We continue to marvel at the Lord’s work and His providence every step of the way. Although the future for these children future is unknown, He is sovereign over that as well. We are rejoicing in His goodness and faithfulness to them today and that they are in a school and home that loves and cares for them!
Thank you for all that YOU are doing to help these children. Our Operation Homeward Bound campaign is an ongoing effort. Please help us continue this amazing work by donating specifically to an initiative that has seen nearly 200 kids like these get out and get back to living their lives.children, disabilities, home, loved, special needs, valued