On the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the disabled are often discriminated against and rejected by society, left to fend for themselves in harsh living conditions and disheartening situations.
This is where Mr. Megbare sat on the side of the road, attempting to gain attention from potential customers for his shoe repair business. Crippled by childhood polio, the young man wasn’t only feeling physically stuck in life, but mentally as well. He didn’t expect anyone to notice him or care.
He was confused and uncomfortable when he met a woman who showed him compassion. Desta was strong-willed, perseverant regardless of circumstance, and could look past the man’s disability to see clearly all his capabilities. In spite of others thinking she was foolish, she wanted to marry him. It has been 12 years since they began building a life together.
When that life has had immense challenges, they’ve faced them hand in hand. Desta’s encouragement and faithfulness motivates her husband to keep moving forward. She reminds him that just like all of us, with support, he is able.
Struggling to make ends meet with two daughters to take care of, the family was chosen by local government to be a part of a Life In Abundance orphans and vulnerable children project. Involvement has not only provided school supplies and food for the children, but has brought seed money and business training opportunities for Desta and Megbare. LIA’s Zoe Clinic staff have become their extended family and support, as the team treats Megbare’s health issues at home. Desta says this project has brought “a bright hope” to their family, offering support in all directions while they pursue their potential.
With this help, Megbare has been able to buy a motorbike that allows him to move from place to place easily and with confidence. He feels able to provide for his family, with a wife who loves him and daughters growing up honoring him as their father. The couple have become an example in the community. The man who once sat hopeless on the roadside has even started to mobilize his disabled friends to come out from their homes and use their skills and talents in the community. He’s established a handicapped association that is recognized by the government, and currently leads the group, speaking up for the disabled and inspiring others to see their value, the way Desta first inspired him.
LIA exists to bring support to those society normally overlooks, people like Megbare, helping them to see what we already do – that they are valuable voices in our world and capable of taking hold of hope. Please pray with us for this family and the others we serve in Africa and the Caribbean. Ask God to grant them vision to see themselves the way he sees them and may that change not only their lives, but those around them as well.