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. It even means encouraging them to laugh and play.
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.
A community project in Tajikistan invites peers, children who do not have disabilities, to regularly attend rehabilitation activities six months before school starts.
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.”
Kamil realized he possessed leadership skills and that he had not been leading in a good way. He resolved to stop pressuring other students to do the wrong things and to try to lead in doing good things.
“It takes time to see attitudinal changes,” says Emma, “but we think we have seen changes and as long as we stay and continue working, then we will see more positive changes ahead.”
We added to the encouragement that her loving father and supportive mother were giving her, to try to give her hope to move forward.
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.
“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.
A doctor, nurse, physical therapist, speech therapist and a special needs teacher, all on one dream team.
Eventually several relatives visited and noticed that Mustafa had greatly improved. They wanted to pass out sweets to their friends and neighbors to celebrate.
“This community has helped my son to improve not only physically, but also mentally.”
Anna was a good, experienced teacher. But when our education project director, Daisy* approached her to offer work teaching children with disabilities in Belovodski children’s home,
Corner chairs and walking frames are essential tools for the rehabilitation of children with disabilities and for increasing their quality of life. The training was aimed specifically at how to make these assistive devices.
A Fall party was a great opportunity to show guests just how much the children are learning.
This four-year-old’s name literally means “Lovely Soul.” When she grins, you can see that it’s a good fit.
Her confidence has grown immensely, and with this growth, she has begun to teach and train other mothers in a way that contributes to making Operation Mercy’s work in Isfara truly sustainable.
“The most beautiful thing is the big smile on his face.”
Most importantly, hope is present for Hamidjon because he has a loving mother, who, through our project, is able to experience support and acceptance, receive counselling and process her grief.
“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.”