Stories from the Mission Field
Mozambique – hope for children with disabilities
Our Spanish missionary, Sara Marcos, works in the social center in Macia. More than half of the children have physical limitations. In Africa this often means stigmatizing the families affected. But here at the social center they are welcome and treated with respect. In the PEPE preschool project, children get the chance of a good and fair start to school. Despite the pandemic, more than 50 school children are being looked after outside of school hours. A team from the social center regularly visits the families of the children.
Hope! A whole container with relief supplies from Europe arrived in Macia a few weeks ago. Most of the items are intended for children with limited mobility. Hard to imagine what that means for the recipient! The 40 or so wheelchairs and several pairs of walking aids and canes will enable the children to go to school more independently, to go for walks in the neighborhood, to go to the hospital if necessary and, above all, to be able to play with other children. These materials are key to helping children with physical disabilities be less isolated from society. “We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the arrival of this container!” writes Sara Marcos.
Some structural changes are currently being made in the center. A wall is being built around the social center so that children with developmental disorders cannot leave the premises unnoticed. This wall should also protect against break-ins. Solar lamps with motion detectors were also installed for this purpose.
There has always been a long waiting list for children with multiple disabilities or children who are otherwise at risk, to be included in the project. Due to the pandemic, no new children could be added for many months. In the past year, the center had to remain closed to almost all children. During this time, the situation has worsened for many people – they are once again living in isolation in their houses, with poor food and hygiene conditions and do not go to school. Because of these challenges, additional efforts had to be made to improve the children’s situation at home. Many families are now visited at home, they receive psychosocial support and an emergency package with basic food or hygiene items every week. The employees and new volunteers have been trained to carry out these outreach activities.
Sara reports that more and more children are abandoned because their families cannot, or do not, want to care for them. Often the little ones don’t even know their name, can’t speak yet, and nobody knows who they are. In order to be able to give these children a home, a reception center is to be built in Macia. For this, the staff have already applied for the required recognition from the authorities. The team prays that this new branch of work can be started as soon as possible so that these children can also have a dignified life.
According to reports from Sara Marcos