At Imprint Hope, we strive to compose a string of words that accurately portrays the heroic joys, challenges and beauty of having a child with a disability in Uganda.
A huge part of our work is follow-up visits with families, who have been discharged from Imprint Hope’s 7-week training course. Every couple of days, Imprint Hope’s staff travel into villages to visit with these families. During these visits, we listen to our families, review their child’s home exercise program and simply prove to them through a visit that their family is worthy of our time.
We wanted to share a commentary with you about what one of of families shared with Imprint Hope’s Team during one of those visits…
Momma Shatura, what was your biggest challenge prior to Imprint Hope’s program?
“My greatest struggle was listening to people say that my daughter was a problem and her life will continue to cause problems in our family. I was ashamed to bring my daughter anywhere because people would say I ‘put demons’ in her. “
How did people perceive disabilities in your family?
“After my daughter was born, I realized she had problems. My family would tell me to take her to traditional healers, fake pastors, witchcraft doctors etc to ‘fix her.’ As her mother, I was constantly bombarded by so many voices that told me my daughter’s life was a mistake. So after spending a lot of money on these ‘traditional healers,’ I gave up. I dropped my daughter at my parents house, so I could work without the shame of having my daughter there with me. “
What was it like for you to come to Imprint Hope?
“When I arrived at Imprint Hope, I didn’t know if I would stay. I was scared. People had told me so many things about my daughter’s disability. I didn’t know what to believe in anymore. But when I began to participate in the daily therapy, counseling and classes at Imprint Hope, I began to feel different. I began to feel accepted and loved. “
What was the hardest part about being at Imprint Hope?
“The hardest part about being at Imprint Hope was accepting the fact that my daughter’s disability was not going away. I had to accept that God had given me my daughter for a reason and that was hard for me. During therapy, I would cry when talking with the therapists because it was very painful.”
What was it like going back home after your time at Imprint Hope?
“I was initially worried about going back home. However, when Imprint Hope’s team came and educated our whole village on my daughters disability – I felt supported. The educational seminar on Cerebral Palsy that you (i.e. Imprint Hope) led in my village helped the people , who use to say horrible things about my daughter, now praise her and want to help my family. People in my village now come and ask me for advice regarding other people with disabilities in our village. I always share with them how change is possible for people with disabilities in Uganda.”
How do you feel about being a mother to a child with a disability in Uganda?
“Prior to Imprint Hope, I was ashamed of my daughter. I would put dirty clothes on her and not even comb her hair. I never wanted to take her anywhere. But now, I take Shatura everywhere – I carry her to the market, to my work and to my neighbors home. I love my daughter and I’m not afraid to share that love with her. God picked me to be her Mom and I’m grateful.”
So many days its easy to lose sight of what Imprint Hope is fighting for. We get caught up in the craziness of the present moment and forget to realize that through all of the long days, Imprint Hope is here in Uganda to fight for something so much deeper then what meets the eye.
We are fighting so that children throughout Uganda do not have to feel the pain, abandonment, trauma and rejection of being unloved.
We are fighting for a child with a disability to feel accepted, not just because they can walk and talk and go to school, but because of the mere fact that their life is precious and inherently deems respect and value.
We are fighting for a world where families emulate God’s Love and raise up future generations to reflect that beauty.
Thank you for walking and fighting this battle with us. Thank you for allowing us to be present to families and children throughout Uganda, so that they may know and feel your heart of love beating through us. We are so grateful.