In many parts of the world, the stigma of disability is still very real to the extent that those who are born with a disability are often left to die. If they do survive, they are mistreated or neglected; treated like animals, hidden and forgotten.
Story by Melvin and Kari Peters and photos by Mark and Kelly Hewes.
One of the exciting aspects of living in a village that has been reached with the Gospel, is that the change in the hearts of the people is so evident. Kenyans, who’ve experienced the hand of God in their lives are now passing that love on to their neighbours and beyond and those who have been marginalised are now included.
One example of this is John Osmond. He came to LogLogo in the late 1990’s to work at the LogLogo Primary School. It soon came to his attention that there were children in the area that were not receiving an education due to their disabilities, particularly the visually-impaired. In 2000, together with the help of AIM missionaries, he opened a boarding home for these children.
One of his first students was a Borana girl, who came from a village 12km from Marsabit. Her family had kept her hidden and grudgingly allowed her to come to LogLogo to attend school. Over the years, the Jubilee Boarding School has continued to grow and can now accommodate up to 50 children. The most incredible thing about this story is that John is himself blind.
John grew up in the village of Ngurunit, about 80km from LogLogo. When he was seven years old, he contracted trachoma which was left untreated, leading to blindness. A number of years later, an AIM missionary found out about his situation and arranged for him to attend a school for the blind near Nairobi. There he learned braille and obtained his grade 12 education. He recounts travelling to and from school by aircraft. Following high school, he attended Teacher’s College and upon completion he came to LogLogo to work.
Room for more
The reality is that children with disabilities are the most marginalised people in many of the villages in rural Kenya. There is no help from families who consider these children a curse or a bad omen, and at the least, a burden.
Until 2012, the Jubilee Boarding program was receiving funding from a donor in the UK. In 2010, the government of Kenya started to offer some financial assistance. While the government continues to provide funding, there is still a need. The home is running at about half capacity at the moment due to lack of funds. John is aware of many more children in northern Kenya who are in need of this opportunity but he cannot bring them here knowing that he cannot look after them.
God used missionaries to change John’s life and now John is seeking to bring the Gospel to some of the most marginalised people living in northern Kenya.
Happy to help the school
A few months ago, John approached Melvin about helping with a need at Jubilee. He wanted to be able to harvest rainwater to use for drinking and washing.
The Peters family talked with a friend of theirs in Canada who was willing to finance the project, and they bought the supplies, flew them up to LogLogo via the MAF shuttle, and installed new gutters on the roofs of the dormitory and kitchen buildings.
'The reality is that children with disabilities are the most marginalised people in many of the villages in rural Kenya.'