02 Jun A Path We Share: Supporting Kids with Disabilities
Jessica Ebersole joined our Portland staff at Lahash in 2019, and jumped right into becoming a travel team member and a child sponsor. Her personal story intersects with the mission of Lahash in a unique way, and we’re grateful to have her share more about that with the wider Lahash community!
As a woman with a disability, I always look for ways that my life and the mission of Lahash intersect. Lahash serves over 500 vulnerable children in East Africa, and some of them need a little extra support as a result of their disabilities. I am drawn to the stories of Kevin and Glory because life with a disability is a path that I know well, and I want to draw attention to the unique elements that make these kids special and vulnerable.
In a small village in rural Tanzania, Kevin lives with his mother and siblings. Kevin and his mother both have HIV which is a very high-risk condition that requires consistent access to medication and the proper healthcare. In addition to his chronic illness, Kevin has an added challenge in life. Back when he joined the Lahash Sponsorship Program at Grace & Healing Ministry in 2014, he shared that he experienced severe leg pain and needs special shoes so that he is able to walk better. Because of the caring staff at Grace & Healing Ministry and his generous sponsors, he has been able to have physical therapy to help with his leg issues. In addition, his sponsors provided him with a bike through the Christmas giving program, which enabled him to get around more easily and gave him a new sense of freedom. In 2020, the Grace & Healing Ministry team and Lahash made it possible for Kevin to receive a surgery for his leg that has greatly reduced his pain and increased his mobility. Kevin is doing well and he is so grateful to his sponsors and Lahash for their support over the years.
Nine-year-old Glory has a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye as she runs around the school yard at the boarding school she attends in Tanzania. Glory lives with albinism which is a genetic condition that causes the body to produce very little melanin, resulting in very light skin, hair, and eyes. This can lead to early skin cancer and other painful damage to the skin from the sun. People with albinism also have major problems with their eyesight that are not correctable. The Lahash Sponsorship Program partners with Albino Peacemakers in Tanzania to specifically care for many children with albinism. Glory is a child that I chose to sponsor because of our connection of living life with a disability. Sadly, people living with albinism are commonly ostracized, chased, or seen as cursed. They are often rejected by their families. I know what it’s like to feel on the outside of life and not included because of my disability. My heart was tuned to Glory knowing that she also has experienced hurt and pain as a result of her disability. Sponsorship enables her to go to a safe school and receive the proper medical care in regards to her albinism. I am so grateful that Lahash is able to make a difference in the life of a little girl like Glory.
Lahash comes alongside vulnerable kids to help provide holistic care that meets their educational, medical, and other needs. For Kevin, Glory, and many others, this also means ensuring that they are uniquely cared for and accommodations are made in regards to their disabilities. With Lahash, our ministry partners, and the kids’ sponsors working together to provide compassionate care, these special kids are able to grow and thrive in the lives that God has given them.
You can meet kids like Kevin and Glory who are still waiting to be matched with a sponsor at lahash.org/sponsorship. If you have specific interest in sponsoring a child with a disability, let our Sponsorship Team know! Send a quick email to email@example.com and they will get back to you and help you match up!