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“The plight of children with disabilities here is particularly disheartening,” writes Fr. Aloysius Ssekamatte — head of the Missionaries of Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. “Children with disabilities are very much stigmatized in many communities — sometimes seen as an embarrassment by their family. Having a disabled child can even be seen as a punishment or curse! Disabled children may even be separated from other children, hidden away.”
Happy New Year! I hope that the holidays provided you with some time for relaxation and peace. As we look forward to a new year — no doubt with its own set of challenges — please know how much we appreciate the financial support you continue to provide for our missionaries in their outreach to Africa’s poor and needy. The work we do is only possible because of your kindness. For all that you do for our work, thank you!
“The plight of children with disabilities here is particularly disheartening,” writes Fr. Aloysius Ssekamatte — head of the Missionaries of Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. “Children with disabilities are very much stigmatized in many communities — sometimes seen as an embarrassment by their family. Having a disabled child can even be seen as a punishment or curse! Disabled children may even be separated from other children, hidden away.”“Additionally, many schools do not have the facilities or accommodations to provide for them, so parents keep their disabled children at home. These little ones are particularly vulnerable to injuries and even death when they are left at home alone while their parent(s) work. This can be especially dangerous if a fire breaks out or when flooding occurs — which happens frequently in many slum areas. The children are alone and do not know what to do.”
“There is a children’s center in our area that cares for boys and girls with disabilities,” Fr. Aloysius continues. “They focus on helping children living in the Mukuru slums of Nairobi City. The center provides education, food, therapy and general care to nearly 100 children. One of their more focused programs provides care for children with cerebral palsy, autism, hydrocephalus and other disabilities.”The center also provides training and education for young people who have been unable to finish high school for various reasons. Older boys and girls are given the basic education they need in order to be employed — so that they can begin to take care of themselves. A center like this requires a lot of financial support. I hope we can help them in some way!”
Here in the U.S., many communities have programs in place to help people with disabilities stay engaged. To help with this, you could make sure that your town provides free transportation for those severely disabled. You could also encourage businesses and employers to offer job opportunities for those with limited skills.
I am also hoping that you will make a donation to help the children’s center that Fr. Aloysius wrote about in his letter. My hope is that we can raise at least $27,500 for this program and other programs that provide assistance for children. But no matter what gift amount you are able to send, please know that the most important thing is to let the children know that you care — that they have not been abandoned. For all that you do, again please accept my sincere thanks!
Your Missionary Friend,
Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development