Jim Kline, our Africa projects officer, recently returned from a trip to Ethiopia. While visiting a Catholic ministry we support in the capital city that provides physical therapy and education to children with disabilities, he met a little girl named Hewett.
The 6-year-old, born with Down Syndrome, had spent most of her life bedridden and mute. Her parents, poor and beside themselves with worry, had nowhere to turn for help.
In Ethiopia, as in many developing African countries, children with disabilities are considered cursed. These children are often kept at the fringes of society, held back from school and hidden away from people, and their parents face constant ridicule from friends and neighbors.
Hewett, however, did not become one of those “hidden children.” Instead, her parents heard about a Catholic ministry that helped children like Hewett get better. After a few years of physical therapy and one-on-one attention, Hewett can now stand on her own and she speaks. Her parents could not believe the miraculous change — Hewett couldn’t even hold up her head on her own before the help of the ministry.
“She is very engaged. She makes eye contact with you and wants to touch everything,” Jim said. “Her parents are overwhelmed with joy over the improvement their daughter has made. The ministry really made a difference in this child’s life.”
Stories like Hewett’s are a precious reminder of what can be accomplished when Catholics work together to help the poor. To read about more life-changing programs in Africa that we support, click here.
You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.