Jayla didn't celebrate the International Day of People with Disability on December 3…
… because she doesn’t believe she has a disability!
And even though I can see Jayla’s foot is severely clubbed … which must make it extremely painful to walk … when I see Jayla climb a tree, I believe her when she says:
“I can do EVERYTHING! Even with my foot. I play soccer with my friends, and we play Chase. I can climb trees. I can swim in the river.”
MORE THAN EVERYTHING
Jayla doesn’t see she has a ‘disability’. She can do ‘everything’ … and more!
Jayla’s community’s attitude to disability has changed, following training by the Lutheran Church in PNG you support through ALWS. As mum Lewan explains:
“We have training about disability. That training can open the mindset. Before, the community might look down on children with a disability.
Now their mind is open that these too are the children of God. The disability is just physical, the spiritual is just like us.”
Through Christmas Action this year, you strengthen the Lutheran Church in PNG to deliver practical care to their communities – often through local Lutheran volunteers.
What’s exciting is that every $ you give for PNG can be matched with $$$ from an Australian Government Grant.
THE CHANGE YOU BRING
Changing community perceptions about disability - and supporting people with disabilities - is a key part of the work you will support with your Christmas Action gift.
When you talk to Lewan, as I did, you see why this is important:
“When I was pregnant I was sick with malaria. I went to hospital, but my daughter was born with a club foot.
When I first saw my daughter was born this way, I felt very sorry. But my husband is a Lutheran pastor, and he said it must be God’s will.
For others this disability might be a challenge, but my child is able to help herself, so it is no burden for the family.”
WHY WE CAN CELEBRATE
This change of attitude in Jayla’s community is exactly what the UN-mandated ‘International Day of People with Disability’ on Saturday 3 December is all about.
Your support has enabled ALWS to take a lead role worldwide – and especially in PNG and Indonesia – in supporting the rights of people living with disabilities. Changes – whether it be ramps to toilets, inclusion of people with disabilities in leadership, specialist care – are happening right through the communities you support through ALWS.
Put that together with Jayla’s smile from the top of a tree …
… and yes, we do have a reason to celebrate!