A Father’s Hope

by Lauren Blair, Thomas Katana

When Emmanuel was born, his parents and birth attendant were overwhelmed because they were unfamiliar with his disability. Emmanuel was born with phocomelia, a rare congenital anomaly that caused both his upper limbs and his lower right leg to stop developing. Complicating matters, his family felt rejected by their community. As in many low- and middle-income countries, their friends and family thought that disability was the result of witchcraft or a curse from God. The family was forced to rent a home away from their extended family. It was quickly apparent that the most limiting aspect of their son’s disability was not the physical differences as they had feared but the negative views of others.

Searching for Strength

For Emmanuel’s father, Peter, this was particularly difficult. He faced considerable rejection from his own parents for having a son with a disability. It was not until he stumbled upon a passage in the Bible that he found comfort. When he read         1 Timothy 4:4, it stated,

“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.”

He clung to that verse and made the decision to love and cherish his child despite the adversity they faced.

Soon after, Peter also found hope in a Kupenda support group for caregivers of children with disabilities. Groups such as these are formed by Kupenda-trained community leaders and parents who have learned about the medical causes of disabilities, appropriate interventions, the rights of people with disabilities, and the need for loving inclusion. They are supported by Kupenda staff and serve as both a place of encouragement as well as a place to share knowledge and financial support. Often, groups will share their resources and even band together on income-generating projects to supplement their livelihoods.

In the case of the Malanga Caregivers Group where Peter lived, group members who had heard about Emmanuel took it upon themselves to visit the family, counsel them, and refer them to additional support.

Finding a Future

Over time, Peter became encouraged by the progress he witnessed in his son. After taking him to physical therapy, Emmanuel was able to sit, crawl, and stand with the aid of a prosthetic leg. Currently he is being fitted with prosthetic limbs for his arms, so that he may better grasp objects to aid him.

Today Peter tells others how the Kupenda support group was his “pillar of strength.”

Emmanuel’s mother also stated,

“[The support group] gave me hope to see another tomorrow. Walking this journey alone would have been hectic if the members did not hold my hands and embrace me.”

As a result, Peter has not only found strength in numbers, but he has taken it upon himself to advocate for others in similar situations. He lives out the verse that once renewed his hope, affirming that everything God made is good and nothing is to be rejected.

Spreading Hope

This Father’s Day, we invite you to join us in honoring parents like Peter. Your support not only sustains families like Emmanuel’s, but it reaches those who are still in the midst of despair and rejection due to negative views about disability. Thank you for affirming the value of every individual and providing life-sustaining hope!

Want to keep updated on Kupenda’s work? 

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter.

Learn more about Kupenda in our podcast.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Or sponsor a child in need for just $30 / month.

About the Authors

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us on Social Media!

Blog Archives