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! firstname.lastname@example.org — 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.