Set up in 2019, by Middle East Christians in partnership with a local church, a centre for children with special needs is bringing hope to one region.
Both those who serve there and those who are served, come from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds, including internally displaced families and refugees living in the camps around the city.
On any given day, at least four languages are spoken at the centre, where caring for the children is also binding together the fractured, displaced communities in one programme.
Currently, there are around 50 children registered, with more than 30 on the waiting list and it’s hoped the centre can relocate to a larger site to provide further capacity and recruit and train up more staff.
Depending on the child, some come for hour-long 1:1 sessions, while others join groups for up to four full days each week. For others, it’s a combination of the two.
The children come with a range of conditions, including Cerebral Palsy (CP), Downs Syndrome, autism and ADHD.
The centre, which is supported by SIM and its mission partners, is free to attend and doesn’t advertise. However, its programme is recommended by word of mouth and sometimes word travels far. Enquiries can come by phone from parents living many miles away, who’re willing to relocate just so their child can be helped.
One of our workers recalls the story of a middle-aged lady, who comes to the centre with her niece’s son, who’s five and disabled. The woman is familiar with grief: her husband died when their children were young; then she had to flee her home as terrorist forces advanced in 2014, finally coming to settle in the area where she now lives with her married daughter.
In 2018, her niece died shortly after giving birth to twin boys, one with CP. She took over their care when the father felt unable to look after them, alongside their older brother.
“The centre has provided her with essential support and given her the help she needs to care for the boy’s special needs,” says our worker. “He follows much of what’s going on around him and notices when his twin brother leaves to go to nursery school. His frame is very weak and he’s distressed that he can’t go with him to school.
“But with regular physiotherapy, he’s beginning to hold up his head and the aunt is herself encouraged by believers, visit by visit.”
By Kerry Allan
- For SIM workers, who serve alongside Middle Eastern believers, to bring hope to the vulnerable.
- That new team members will be recruited to serve long-term and short-term at the centre, and in other areas of the community.
- Give thanks for this ministry that brings good news to the afflicted and binds up the broken-hearted.