"Humans shouldn't be treated this way"
Promoting positive change about disability in Tunisia
There is a strong stigma attached to people with disabilities in Tunisia – and, as such, there is limited assistance and a lack of resources to those in need.
A physiotherapist working for BMS with our partners in the country writes about how she’s trying to change negative views and practically share God’s love.
One of my current projects is mentoring home carers working with children with complex disabilities.
They help them think about new methods of working and to affect positive change.
In the UK many of these children would be included in mainstream schooling but for this group of people the local authorities have introduced a domiciliary care programme.
There are limited resources and little guidance, and consequently the carers on the programme can feel out of their depth.
I visited one family with two adults with a degenerative neurological condition. They never leave the house and one of them never gets out of bed.
Their mum is the sole carer and the daughter cannot speak, sit up or function independently in any way. Initially, the carer felt so out of her depth that she only attempted very peripheral tasks like massaging feet.
I talked with the mother about tasks she found difficult and then helped the home carer to do these. Tasks like showing carers how to provide a bed-bath with dignity makes a real difference.
Another girl I’ve worked with is Yasmina who is 15 years old. I first met Yasmina tied up in her bedroom. The family explained to me that they were doing this to keep Yasmina safe.
I spoke to the home help and was able to show the love of God through explaining that humans shouldn’t be treated in this way.
Through my relationship with the family, where there was a foundation of trust, I was able to play a part in changing Yasmina’s life. She no longer spends her days tied up at home and now participates in family life.
People with disabilities are still thought of, by many in Tunisia, as subjects of shame or curse. Consequently, many people – carers included – are frightened of people with disabilities.
As Christians we believe that all humans are made in God’s image and want to challenge those who view disabled people differently. Through positive working relationships, this work is doing something to challenge these views.
It’s about transformational development – one that seeks to restore and enable wholeness of life with dignity and hope.
In our workplaces, there are rarely opportunities to speak openly about the gospel – but there are opportunities to challenge others’ views by actions and acts of kindness.
By providing opportunities for people to see our lives, through relationship with them, opportunities arise to show and tell the gospel message to people who have never heard it.
Pray that hearts and minds might change so that disabled people get access to the care and love they deserve.
Pray that, above all, they are treated like human beings.
Do you have the necessary medical skills to help vulnerable, marginalised people groups in another culture?
Get in touch with us today to find out about a range of opportunities to serve with BMS. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org