At the best of times (including having a job and supportive family), the slums of Kampala rarely make it onto the World’s-Top-10-Places-to-Live list. If you have a severely disabled child in this setting, to say your hardships have been compounded is an understatement. With essentially no government services or financial support for people with disabilities (or their families), coupled with the widely held view that a disability is a curse or bad omen, you are “going to face it rough,” as they say in Uganda. Often families hide away their disabled member to avoid shame.
So imagine you’re a mother of four, living in a slum. Then you have a baby that is severely disabled. The father tells you to throw it away (literally). When you refuse he leaves (never to be seen again). You turn to your extended family; they tell you the same “Just throw it away!” When you don’t, they pledge to never help you. You are on your own. With your 5 kids. All living in a tiny room. You wash clothes for other people living in the slum (earning pennies)…and even that’s hard to do because your disabled child requires constant care. You’ve been living like this for about 3 years now. How are you feeling… Weary? Alone? Resentful? Angry? Helpless? Hopeless? Desperate? A deep love for your children may be the only thing that’s keeping you going.
The name of this mother is Lydia, and her disabled son’s name is Joshua. Lydia lives in the slum of Katwe (“Kat-way”) – close to Kampala’s city center. Identified as one of the neediest of the needy, she was enrolled in the IMFC (International Missionaries for Christ) Manna Ministry crisis relief program – receiving a 90lb bag of food once a month for 6 months – plus counselling. IMFC helps people both physically and spiritually, which is what Jesus did.
In this video, meet Lydia & Joshua, and find out how God has helped her family and worked in their lives through Manna Ministry. Lydia’s troubles are not over, but a light has begun to shine in the darkness for her.
P.S. Katwe is also the slum that Aggie was born in, grew up in, and raised her family in…so she is just the right kind of person for Lydia to connect with. Most of IMFC’s workers grew up (and some still live) in Kampala’s slums, so they have a good understanding of the issues, and a deep empathy for those living in them.