Disability + poverty crushes children’s lives

Too many children with impairments living in the poorest families and communities – surrounded by disabling barriers – are dying, lonely, neglected, uneducated, abused, viewed as a burden, unemployable as adults…
And it’s wrong.

As governments and development agencies work together to deliver essential health and education services to children around the globe, particularly those in low income countries, there is a marginalized and largely invisible group of children who are consistently overlooked.

These are girls and boys with impairments – physical, sensory, intellectual – and they are among the most vulnerable children on the planet.

These children are hidden away, sometimes out of shame, more often out of necessity, as parents struggle to put food on the table and a roof over their family’s heads.

Misunderstanding, stigma and exclusion pulls whole families into deeper poverty. Deeper poverty makes families more vulnerable to sickness, infection, disability.

Disability Cycle

Every child is worth educating…

For weeks, Mestu and Getu walked to the gates of their local Ethiopian school… hoping to get in, only to be disappointed. Why? Because Mestu and Getu are deaf. Because they couldn’t hear the teacher. Because the school lacked the understanding and the resources to welcome them in.

Millions of children are denied an education because they can’t see, hear, or walk – crushing their dreams, depriving the world of future scientists, teachers and business leaders.

READ THEIR STORY

Together with YOU, we fight for equal opportunities…

You can make schools more accessible, more open and inclusive.

You can provide teacher training so kids who are blind or deaf can learn along with their peers. You can give wheelchairs and mobility devices like prosthetic legs – to help kids travel the distance to school.

Only 1 in 10 of all children with disabilities is in school. (UNICEF, 2018)

1 in 20 completes primary education. (UNESCO, 2007)

Girls are even less likely to attend school – resulting in a 1% literacy rate for women with disabilities compared to 3% for men with disabilities. (Leonard Cheshire, 2017)

Every child deserves medical care

Alemnesh developed bed sores. She was poor… so her family couldn’t get her the medical care she needed. The sores ate away at the muscles in her legs. We found Alemnesh feverish and in pain. Unable to walk. Lying on a plastic sheet in an empty house.

For kids like Alemnesh, disability is needless. It can be prevented or cured… but only if we believe kids like Alemnesh are worth saving. Without medical care, relatively minor impairments result in wildly twisted bones, permanent blindness, pain and in some cases death.

READ HER STORY

Together with YOU, we provide healing care and rehabilitation…

Every year supporters like you help hundreds of thousands of children, moms and dads see, walk, and hear through surgery and rehabilitation. You partner with communities to distribute medication that prevents disabling diseases. You help us create country-wide referral networks – creating programs that link the poorest people with the services they need.

Children who are poor are more likely to become disabled through poor healthcare, malnutrition, lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation, dangerous living and working conditions. (UNICEF, 2013)

Children with pre-existing disabilities are at risk of becoming malnourished. Children with some types of physical disabilities, cerebral palsy for example, may encounter significant difficulties in chewing and swallowing or feeding themselves resulting in severe nutritional implications. (WHO, 2012)

Every child deserves protection

Nyalal is a 17-year-old girl with multiple disabilities. She was born deaf and is unable to speak. She also has multiple amputations. She was born in a refugee camp in northern Kenya. She has never known any other life. She can’t attend school in the camp because it isn’t accessible. So her single mom has to leave her alone in the house, where she is vulnerable and at heightened risk of abuse. “It has stressed us because we have to leave her alone sometimes. She cries a lot when she is left alone.” – Nyalal’s step sister.

READ HER STORY

Together with YOU, we provide respect and hope…

Every year supporters like you give thousands of girls, young women, boys and young men respectful, compassionate care and opportunity. Our goal is to heal bodies and hearts, and to create champions within communities who are committed to stamping out stigma and misunderstanding.

Women and girls with disabilities are three to four times more likely to experience gender-based violence than women and girls without disabilities. (UNICEF, 2013)

For every child killed through armed violence, 100 are left with permanent disabilities. (UN, 2007)

We are all God’s children

He was called ‘cursed by God’. Neighbours said it. They didn’t understand the cleft in Fred’s lip was a physical condition – not a spiritual one. They teased him. As a result, Fred spent 6 years of his life staying out of sight. Hiding in shadows and inside his family’s small home.
Many cultures view disability as a curse. So children like Fred are hidden away – out of shame, fear – sometimes out of necessity as moms and dads work flat out to earn a living for the family.

READ FRED'S STORY

So we share Jesus’ love.

Jesus’ love for all people is the foundation of our work. As a result, we take every opportunity to share that love with the world. Wherever possible, your funds flow through Christian doctors, nurses, community workers, and churches – delivering the Gospel in practical acts of love.

We believe all people are equal in God’s eyes.

DISABILITY STATISTICS

Children with disabilities are 3-4 times more likely to be abused than children without disabilities
90% of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school
disability