In developing countries, it’s hard enough to survive if you’re healthy, strong and determined. It’s almost unbearable to think what life must be like if you’re a helpless, disabled child. That’s why since 1978, Mustard Seed Communities www.mustardseed.com has set out to provide homes, education and medical care for over 600 disabled and abandoned children in 14 communities in Jamaica, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe and the Dominican Republic.
Under the passionate leadership of Father Gregory, Mustard Seed has worked with local communities in all four countries to help the people there to build homes for their marginalized and forgotten children. The idea is not simply to provide a solution, but to involve the community in Caring, Sharing and Training to embrace its most vulnerable members. And to bring education, job training, community gardens and support services to people who otherwise would not receive them.
In Zimbabwe, that includes providing nutrition programs for 500 children daily, with 2 residential homes for HIV/AIDS orphans. In Jamaica, Mustard Seed has developed 15 local programs to house children with AIDS, built 7 homes for disabled kids, and started a program for abandoned pregnant teenagers. In the Dominican Republic, Mustard Seed’s Christ in the Garbage ministry feeds, empowers and educates children whose families are living in –and out of –garbage dumps. And in Nicaragua, Diriamba Children’s Home was just opened and will eventually hold 60 residents.
A cornerstone of Mustard Seed Communities is bringing over 600 volunteers a year from the United States –to meet the children it serves, witness life in a developing country, and return to share their stories with their own communities. You can go, too! email@example.com — no matter what your religion, experience or belief system, you are welcome.
When you consider that 10% of the population in developing countries is affected by some kind of disability, we can only hope that the Mustard Seed promise will hold true: that the smallest actions can explode into a lifetime of love.
I have volunteered at Mustard Seed Jamaica several times and want to encourage others to give one week of their time to help others. You will receive far more than you give and the children are wonderful individuals.
As I’m trying to help my son do his math homework I feel disabled myself. Who’s to define disable? Aren’t we all disabled at something? Every person as a worth we just can’t see some as well as others.
This.. is so utterly Awesome… I cried! but more so… I smiled at the wonderful work being done!
The poet Virgil said, “one day a child will come,” and scholars revere Virgil for anticipating the coming of Jesus. However, the philosopher, Hannah Arendt, argued that Virgil was not anticipating Jesus, but was rather saying that each birth represents the possibility of changing the world. Arendt is arguing that every birth brings a sovereign individual into the world, one who has unlimited potential, and one who can come up with a unique idea that can change the world. One example would be Gandhi, who had the idea of non-violent, direct action to get the British out of India, rather than opposing them with guns, which is exactly what the British understood, and a game at which they would win. Gandhi’s sovereign, and unique idea was then used by Martin Luther King, Jr. to end de jure segregation in the United States in the 1960s.
I love this, Veronica — very deep! xoxoxo B