Stories from the Mission Field

November 2019

Macia - A Place of Hope

It is Good to be Different

In the social centre Macia children with special needs are seen and supported. They are to be strengthened for life in their families. This is a very big challenge with all the existing shortcomings: Wheelchairs are difficult to drive over the deep sand that is everywhere. The children’s limitations are hardly professionally diagnosed and so we work with them without real specialists. What we have, however, is an educational team that loves the children from the heart. Sara Marcos, a missionary at the social center, gives an insight into her work.

Differences are first seen as a threat in Mozambique: When children with disabilities are born, the first thing you think of here is magic or witchcraft. These children are hidden or sent to their grandparents in the country. Nobody wants to take responsibility for them. They only limit their own way of life. There is no good advice from doctors or hospitals and there is no help for life. Therefore, at first the children are a burden. For this reason, the centre in Macia in southern Mozambique is of central importance for the neighbourhood and the churches. The changes that can be seen in the lives of the children have an impact on the village communities. Children with disabilities go to school and have the opportunity to learn. They live together and develop further. This reduces the fear of living with children with disabilities. It is no longer seen as a curse because one experiences that learning and development are still possible. This is a strong testimony of God’s love.

Recently we also started an inclusive preschool in Macia, where all children can find a place. It is a very nice experience to see how small children perceive their differences differently: They first see only children, help each other and hold together without distinguishing between WE and THEY. We believe that it is a great opportunity to shape a new culture of interaction and to start with the youngest in this way. Long before they go to primary school learning together in a group becomes the norm. In this way, we break through the cultural mindset that children with disabilities are not able to attend school.

We also work with young adults to enable them to contribute to the family income. Mercia, for example, has autism and helps us prepare and distribute meals at the center. In this way, she makes an important contribution to the community and generates a small income.

Every day in the social center we experience what God does in the lives of children. We see that differences are not problems. The problem only arises when families do not want children and society isolates them.

Sara Marcos, Missionary of EBM INTERNATIONAL

The social centre in Macia is one of the projects supported during Advent and Christmas. On our Christmas Offering page, you can find further information and donation opportunities for the area “children at risk”.