My name is Heather Wood, and I am a trained educator with Loom International. Before this, I worked as a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for Kindergarten to Grade 6 for six years. I have been full-time with Loom since 2013 and I am part of a team called Learning Resources. We partner with local experts and, after listening to them and learning what they need to be sustainable, we provide training and relationships for success. I help run a workshop called the Celebrating Children Workshop, which trains people to work with children through the lens of God's intentions for children. We cover everything from child development to listening to children. It's a four-week course composed of eight modules.
THE NEED FOR TRAINING AND EQUIPPING
Bringing value to children with disabilities begins with changing our thinking.
Children with disabilities are marginalized in every country. At Loom, we do most of our training in East Africa, so that is my reference point. I have met many parents and teachers that value children with disabilities, but I have also heard that children with disabilities are hidden, seen as a curse, kept from school, and marginalized from all parts of society. A poignant example comes from a friend of mine who works with children with disabilities in Uganda. She once shared with me that she found a girl with burns on her leg and that she was in so much pain that she couldn't sit. When my friend shared this with the girl's mother, her response was, "I count my daughter among the dead." She only touched her daughter in order to help wash her. Unfortunately, there are many stories like this example, and that is the reason that we need training. I have seen first-hand how truth has changed people; we have had many people stand up in the middle of a lesson and repent from how they treated children.
Bringing value to children with disabilities begins with changing our thinking. Changing our thinking begins with bringing biblical truth. I am so excited to have a curriculum from Ekisa that will bring truth to people so that children with disabilities can be valued, have access to education, be loved and protected. There are so many local experts that would love to teach people about the value of children with disabilities but they lack the tools to do so. This curriculum will put tools in their hands and allow them to help break barriers for children with disabilities. As a mother of a boy who experiences Down Syndrome, I understand how important Ekisa's ministry is, and I look forward to what their team and family of supporters will do for children with disabilities everywhere.