Many years of partnership with PI has helped us to understand more about community development, and has helped us work on our own approaches to assisting communities in Central Asia. For years, we have been working together with PI to help our own little town.
Disability is a condition that scares our people a lot. Many in our region believe it has to do with curses or living sinful lives, and as a result, many parents of children with disabilities live in shame and are completely helpless. Even in large cities, there are very few specialized organizations that provide education or treatment for these children. Mothers have no place to go to share their frustrations or to ask for advice. Often these families are very poor and desperately need help.
To help alleviate this issue, we established a center, “Shining Kids”, in English, for children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, and it became an amazing relief to our community. Taking care of the handicapped is actually part of the government’s agenda, but usually they have no capacity or desire to do it. Our team, together with active parents of special needs kids, prayed and worked hard to eventually gain significant support from the government for our work. We were given our current building with free electricity, and the local administration is currently constructing a heating system for the center as well. The center is being run by one of the mothers.
One of these children, a six year old named Ben, never had a chance to get specialized therapy because his family could not afford it. After Ben started coming to our center, he was finally able to receive some basic training and therapy. He has demonstrated great results so far – he can already show emotions on his face and use his hands to sign some messages. Of course, his results have the potential to be even better, if he was able to have proper professional therapy, but even now his parents are happy for every small victory. Ben’s father has even started volunteering at the center. It makes all the women happy, as they are always in need of more men to help there.
This month, a group of believers visited the center. They spent quality time getting to know the mothers and their children, and sharing God’s love with them. Even though we have to be careful in preaching the Gospel, we still make this spiritual time our priority, so this team shared about God with the mothers and children! They also brought special devices for children to help in their growth, such as walkers and biotoilets. One of the mothers shared her excitement that her son could finally use the toilet by himself! This may sound very simple, but there is the whole lifetime of hardships behind it.