|Date||1 May, 2017|
Twelve-year-old Nisha* didn’t have a family … she had been abandoned, abused, moved from one shelter to another. Because of her mild intellectual disability, hearing loss and speech impediment, other homes were unwilling to take her in. And that is when she came to Mukti.
Three years on, Nisha has learned to trust her house mother and special needs teacher and make this her home. She is keen to learn and in this last school year has progressed through three whole academic years.
Nisha has made many friends and enthusiastically participates in home prayer times and as many activities as she can. At children’s activities on Sundays she learns more about her best friend. She even volunteered to do the reading at our whole school community’s morning devotions one day. You see, Nisha loves her Lord and can read the Word for herself. She has a song of praise and gratitude on her lips to her Lord that she was rescued that day three years ago from roaming aimlessly by a temple in the market place and brought to a home where people love her and show her His love. And she is not letting her mild disability stop her from reaching her God-given potential.
The homes at which I have been serving these two and a half years currently house 600 displaced women and children, most of whom have been abandoned, left destitute or disowned by their families. Sadly, there is a social and religious stigma attached to having a family member with a disability or physical deformity, generally caused by fear of curses and the unknown.
One of my team members has been caring for her special needs family of 24 children for 14 years. Mary’s* love for God shines through her loving, gentle and caring manner. She has most of the girls helping each other, with older and more able ones looking out for the younger and less able. Before dinner, as in all of our homes each evening, the family meets together to sing, read and pray – it is beautiful to hear them sing and worship Him from the heart. Their disabilities aren’t going to stop them from singing a joyful song. When people ask me how these children know Him, I say that God speaks to the heart. These children love so much from the heart.
Praisey* came here in need of a home when she was only 11 years old. She has cerebral palsy and had never been to school before. However, her slurred speech and restricted movement did not deter her from completing secondary school, so that now, at 24 years of age, she is in the second year of college. She aims to eventually teach in our new special school and so use her gifts for God’s glory.
While helping the girls in their family by scribing and translating their sponsorship letters, Praisey helped me with the letter for a little blind and autistic girl who always has a song of praise to sing. She said to me, “You should write to her sponsor that Swati* always sings songs for her God only”. That is Praisey’s heart cry – it is for her Lord. She is an encourager, always looking for the good in others.
There are many beautiful stories of change in this place, where lives are being impacted and empowered to be a blessing to others. Those who have had so little physically have hearts overflowing with gratitude and giving. I get to the end of each day so blessed and grateful. There are challenges aplenty but His mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness.
Ingrid serves with Mukti Mission in India. She previously worked in the Philippines for five years, helping to establish schools on the rubbish dumps and slums. Ingrid is qualified and experienced in teaching children with learning difficulties and developing vocational skills programs and will lead the development of the Special Needs School.
*Names have been changed.