Meet Mutebi, A Very Special Yet Unknown Ugandan Boy…
“My heart wrenched within me…and I knew we had to do something.” With those words Heaven’s Family staff member Jeff Trotter reported what he witnessed on his recent trip to Uganda. “Lying on the floor, little Mutebi’s head protruded sideways from a thin curtain that divided his 8′ by 8′ mud-floored home. His clothing and mattress were soiled with his own excrement, but there was no one else at home. That, I learned later, was a typical day for Mutebi.”
Disabled from infancy with severe cerebral palsy, 13-year-old Mutebi lays helpless every day—unable to even sit up on his own—while his mother works long hours in another part of his village to earn enough to feed him and his 3 siblings. Mutebi’s father abandoned the family long ago due to his son’s disability. (See the above photo of Mutebi, taken by Jeff that day.)
Not far away from Mutebi’s house, Jeff visited a little girl named Leila. Leila suffers from hydrocephalus, a disorder that has enlarged her head. She was abandoned by her parents but is blessed to have a grandfather who loves her. Leila is smart, but she can’t attend the local school because she would be humiliated and ostracized.
Jeff also visited Enoch, a 6-year-old boy who received improper treatment for cerebral malaria when he was just 3 months old. Only recently has Enoch learned to walk with the help of leg braces and physical therapy. Although he is blessed with parents who love him, Enoch, like Leila, can’t attend public school—or pursue his dream of becoming a doctor to help other children like him.
These 3 children all live in Uganda, East Africa, where disabilities are generally viewed as a curse from God. Fathers often abandon their families when a child is born with a disability or becomes disabled. The reason? They suspect their wives have been unfaithful, and as a result, God has cursed them with a disabled child.
Parents who don’t abandon their disabled children often don’t understand how to care for them, which leads to mistreatment and further disabilities. They tie their disabled children to trees like animals or lock them in rooms.
To add to all the misery, families with disabled children face shunning and verbal abuse, and local witchdoctors exploit desperate parents, deepening their poverty. Their “cures” often exacerbate the disabilities of the children.
In places where disabled children aren’t barred from school, schools are rarely equipped to handle their special needs, and teachers lack needed resources and training. A visually impaired child, for example, can’t learn in a typical classroom. He/she needs special care, with special curriculum and knowledgeable teachers and caretakers.
To love Uganda’s disabled children as they deserve and need, Heaven’s Family’s Christians with Disabilities Fund is working with a rare clinic in Uganda that competently serves disabled children and their families. I love their name: Spring of Hope. Our hope is to build a Christian residential facility for Spring of Hope where children with disabilities can receive (1) compassionate medical care, (2) physical therapy (already, Spring of Hope has helped numerous disabled children sit up, stand and even walk with assistance), and (3) a biblically-based education. Although they may have a physical disability, many of the children that Spring of Hope serves have above-average mental abilities that blossom under Christ-centered loving care.
At Spring of Hope’s residential facility, children with severe disabilities will be able to live on the campus to receive the 24-hour care that they need. Disabled children with lesser needs will be able to visit the campus with their parents, who will be trained how to care for the special needs of their children.
The reason I’m writing to you is because we need your help. The entire residential facility will cost only $34,000, and it will enable Spring of Hope to serve hundreds of very special children from all over Uganda. Every gift, no matter the size, will make a big difference in their lives.
I’m so glad for this opportunity to make three unknown children—Mutebi, Leila and Enoch—known around the world. We have a wonderful opportunity to help change their lives…and their futures. No gift is too small. And thank you for your love for Jesus and your compassion for the “least of these,” like the disabled children of Uganda.
Every blessing in Christ,