Samuel* entered the world with cerebral palsy. When he was about 12 years old, his family sent him to stay at the state institution for children with disabilities.
Like most children with disabilities in Kyrgyzstan, Samuel received no education even though he has no clear cognitive disability. However, our volunteers recognized Samuel’s potential, and when the education project started in the institution where he lives, Samuel was one of the first students.
Now, a couple of years later, Samuel is reading simple books. He has a lot to catch up on, but there is hope, and a wonderful, funded teacher standing with him!
“The joy and the friendship of these two boys, one having a disability and the other not, is one small step… that can hopefully start a giant leap in the direction of building an inclusive community.”
One of the most difficult parts of doing therapy in a community setting is quickly finding the one or two things that you can teach the caregiver or finding one adjustment you can make to improve the child with a disability’s quality of life.
We believe engaging with the local community is essential to doing effective development work. By working with leaders and citizens, we can positively affect attitudes towards children with disabilities and encourage a sustainable integration of our projects into the community.
When nationwide shut-down for Covid-19 hit Kyrgyzstan, Nurgul knew she had to find something for the special education teachers she leads to do. So she turned the work furlough into a massive training time.
When asked about the experience, she said: “I was really happy to see that people did not notice just her disability, but they appreciated her ability.”
Amina has grown in her capacity to advocate for children with disabilities, to encourage other mothers, and now has grown in confidence to share her knowledge and experience with the social assistance workers too.
“For many years this has been a dream of mine and now it is happening! It is because God loves us that he sent you to us.”
“This community has helped my son to improve not only physically, but also mentally.”
Members of our team in Kazakhstan, in partnership with others in Almaty, have been using their occupational therapy and caring skills with people with disabilities.
“It was my dream to be able to stand up on my own feet,” she said. “And now, my dream has come true thanks to Operation Mercy.”
A community project in Tajikistan invites peers, children who do not have disabilities, to regularly attend rehabilitation activities six months before school starts.
“I love speaking to new mothers that come in for the first time and giving them advice and counselling them. I love seeing the change that this brings into a family.”
It is easy to think about development work only in terms of improving physical aspects of a community like economics or health. However, transformational development also means coming along-side the poor to help them spiritually and socially.
She encouraged the younger girl to keep trying with the horse. Lisa received the encouragement, and her perseverance paid off.
Problems with her birth left her unable to walk normally, so she has spent most of her life sitting and watching the world go by.
Her mother speaks about Sumaya’s development with great happiness and joy. She says, “I didn’t expect to see this much development in my daughter, but now I see she can do a lot and will continue to make progress!”
A Fall party was a great opportunity to show guests just how much the children are learning.
Gulnoza truly brings sustained hope to the people she meets with. By caring for struggling individuals in this society, she is helping bring about the heart change that leads to life transformation.
After months of meetings with local government authorities and other key parties, as well as planning, moving, and training, the day finally arrived – we opened our new office in Isfara…
As Hala has improved physically, so has her and her family’s emotional state. She is almost able go back to school again!