India (MNN) – In a culture struggling to recognize the worth of women, India is an especially rough home for girls with disabilities.
Jonathan Bollback of Help India Kids spoke with us regarding this issue. “Girls in India are not highly valued. And so, [with] a healthy girl not being valued, you can imagine that any girl who has any kind of a physical disability or an emotional one, they are even less valuable.”
Girls with disabilities have little value in an impoverished family
It’s not uncommon for families in India to abandon children because they can’t feed them. Unfortunately, this happens more often to girls. Abandoned children are susceptible to gangs, drugs, and the sex trade. So it’s easy to see how a child with special needs who is born into this culture doesn’t have much of a chance. In the family’s eyes, a child with disabilities can’t work and therefore will not bring in money. They are another mouth to feed: a financial burden. In the worst cases, they are kicked out, forced to face the world all on their own.
Bollback says there’s a little more leniency with boys. Some disabilities will still allow them to do typical work.
Building into the lives of abandoned children with special needs
This is the way things have been for a long time. In 1889, Pandita Ramabai founded Ramabai Mukti Mission, known as Help India Kids in the United States. She was burdened by the plight of Indian women and children and wanted to do something to help. Healthy girls and women were abandoned, but they weren’t the only ones. “There were the ones who had disabilities, there were the ones who had special needs. Pandita Ramabai “said, ‘Well they have value just as much as the next child,'” Bollback explains.
Today, her mission fits in with one of the few entities in India willing to help: The Church.
Bollback says help for children with special needs is not as readily available in India as it is in the West.
“The Church in India, actually, is probably the best advocate for any kind of handicap and disability–having homes for the blind and the deaf and so forth.”
Nobody can reach their full life potential on their own. We need nurture and encouragement, and somebody who believes in us. Check back tomorrow to learn more about how Help India Kids is fulfilling those needs to make sure children are loved, valued, and given a chance to live their best life. Best of all, learn how they are teaching children about the love of Jesus.