Cursed is a label often branded on disabled children and adults in poor nations. Perhaps even more tragic, it is a label often believed by those with disabilities. Their pain is amplified by cultural ignorance.
In India, for example, Hinduism teaches that disabled people are receiving what they deserve for sins committed in a former life. Thus, to do anything to relieve their sufferings only prolongs their “just” misery.
Superstitions in Africa often prevent people with disabilities from using a public water source, as others are fearful of contracting the same disability from drinking water that the disabled have “contaminated.”
I’m happy to say that in 2014, Heaven’s Family’s Christians with Disabilities Fund boldly fought against prejudice that demeans the disabled. Beyond that, we provided vital health services and promoted the gospel as never before.
Last year, we increased the number of visual- and mobile-assistance devices, such as braille typewriters and wheelchairs, that we provided in 2013, for the benefit of both disabled children and adults. We also increased the number of micro-loans that help disabled adults start self-supporting businesses, and we increased the number of prosthetics provided for children. But we’ve done so much more.
We provided epilepsy medication in cities across Uganda. We helped reverse cultural superstition through the ministry of a disability center in Kenya, which has successfully convinced the surrounding community that children with disabilities are not contagious. Through their culture-challenging ministries, our partners educate and demonstrate the value of people with disabilities in God’s eyes.
We always work with partners who are followers of Christ, so they always present the gospel as they serve—even at a biweekly clinic held in a mosque in Uganda. Those who benefit from the services of that clinic quickly learn that the staff are serving because of Christ.
Finally, I’m also happy to report that 2014 contributions to the Christians with Disabilities Fund doubled over the previous year. Rejoice with me over the the physical, emotional and spiritual healing that, together, we helped provide to people with disabilities, and their families, during our most fruitful year yet!