Breaking Free from Broken Beliefs
As most parents will tell you, children should come with instruction manuals! Being a first-time mom or dad can be overwhelming even with the best support network by your side.
The African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” reminds us of the importance of healthy relationships in a child’s family and community. Sadly, in some countries, entire communities can have negative and even destructive beliefs about children with disabilities. In some places in Sierra Leone, there has been a history of neglect and even abandonment of children who exhibit signs of disability, but this narrative is changing.
At 15 years old, Sorie has a miraculous story to share. Eight years ago, Sorie was left in the woods, abandoned by his parents who believed that his appearance and slow development was a result of demon possession. Their desperation and long held beliefs led them to the point of the unthinkable. As a last-ditch effort to save their son, they took him to a traditional healing ceremony in the middle of the forest and then abandoned him there to die.
His mother was the first to witness the miraculous: Sorie came crawling out of the forest and back to his family. Immediately, she believed that God had saved him. Bernicy Kallon, Enable the Children (ETC) Family Support Worker stated, “But God in his mercy performed a miracle and Sorie started to crawl back to the main part of the village.”
Equipping is Empowering
Sorie’s parents and community were not alone in their journey to find hope. The ETC team came alongside them to assist in education and understanding of Sorie’s condition. He was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome and as they learned about this disability, they were better equipped to help him.
Since that day he crawled out of the forest, Sorie has learned to walk, attends school, and has learned a trade. He was introduced to a local tailor who taught him to sew and ETC purchased a sewing machine for him. Sorie’s community has had a front row seat to his growth, and they are watching him continue to thrive.
Partners in Protection
World Hope International is committed to partner in areas of protection and education. Through the Enable the Children program in Sierra Leone, partnerships are helping to shed light on the truth of these situations. Families who have long held beliefs that their children born with disabilities are demon possessed, are learning there are different reasons for their child’s disability and that it is not a curse on them or their family.
They are learning powerful truths and embracing their children with hope for a better future rather than abandoning them.
As families are transformed, they are sharing the hope they have with others. ETC is helping children and families live full and hope-filled lives, freeing them from misunderstood generational beliefs that can cause harm.
Editor’s Note: Bernicy Kallon and John Benya contributed to this blog.
Engagement & Experience Coordinator
World Hope International
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