Seeing without eyes

Nine-year-old Joseph may be blind, but don’t think of him as disabled. Think of him as a child with a special skill that most of us don’t have.

During a visit this month to the Chizombezi Deafblind Center in Malawi, Cross Catholic staff members watched Joseph place his hands on his classmates’ faces and identify each one of them by touch and smell. It was amazing to see how he compensated for his blindness through the use of his other senses.

Joseph’s occasional mistakes were met with laughter by the other students, but they were laughing with, not at, him. The children have learned to have a sense of humor about the challenges they face because they no longer face them alone. That close companionship is what makes the Deafblind Center a truly special place. 

Joseph, who is blind, has learned to identify his classmates by touch and smell.

Disabled children in Malawi are often isolated, ignored, denied opportunities to thrive, and made to feel ashamed of their condition. But the Deafblind Center is a safe haven where they can make friends, be free to express themselves, and do the kinds of things that other kids do – even singing and dancing!

We learned from the sisters who run the Center that when Joseph first arrived, he was barely functional because he wasn’t getting the care and attention he needed at home, being just one of eleven siblings in a very poor family. But today, Joseph has a smile on his face and joy in his heart.

Click here to learn more about this great Cross Catholic project and how it is impacting the lives of children like Joseph.