Special Needs Sponsorships: New ministry serves those with disabilities Reporting by Iryna Galisevych and Lorena Noé
round the world, a billion people, have some form of physical or cognitive disability. Almost 200 million individuals experience significant disabilities. With disabilities often comes discrimination and stigma, not to mention extremely limited opportunities. Entire families can experience loneliness as well as increased poverty, particularly in countries without support services. Recognizing these needs, Nazarene congregations are reminding individuals with disabilities, and their families, of God’s love for them. A new special needs sponsorship through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries’ child Flavio found work, learned about Christ, and discovered community because of one church’s outreach in Chile.
sponsorship program is aimed at serving both children and adults with disabilities. Currently, sponsorships are available to support individuals with disabilities in Ukraine, Chile, and Peru.
UKRAINE When Ira and her mother, Valentina, first came to the five-day camp run by volunteers from a Nazarene church, they hadn’t packed any clothes. Based on past experiences with strangers, they fully expected to go home the same day. Ira uses a wheelchair and has trouble communicating her thoughts. She was used
to being ridiculed by her peers and had no reason to expect anything different this time. But after the first day of the camp, Valentina asked her husband to bring them clothes because Ira had decided to stay. In Ukraine, where Ira lives, those who live with disabilities are highly stigmatized and often go without the care they need. Church-led ministries are stepping in to provide care and to say to those with disabilities, “You are valued and loved.” Along with the summer camp Ira attended, a group of volunteers affiliated with the church of the Nazarene run a Kids’ Club in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, where children and
“To love someone is to show to them their beauty, their worth, and their importance.”
Photos courtesy of NCM SAM and NCM CIS
8 | www.ncm.org
TO SPONSOR SOMEONE WITH DISABILITIES,
go to ncm.org/sponsor. Click the “Special Needs” box and hit the “Search Now” button to find individuals waiting for a sponsor.
Compassion as a lifestyle