Originally published in the WFCF Newsletter, Vol. 7, No. 1, August 2013
Anyone who has spent time with a child knows that they often ask the most candid questions. Where do I come from? Why is the sky blue? Why can’t I do that? They are also upfront about their wants, needs and feelings. It’s mine. I want to walk. Carry me. It hurts. But not all the children are receiving the care and attention that they require.
The United Nations on the World Report on Disabilities estimates 10% of the world’s population—approximately 650-700 million people, of whom 200 million are children—experience some form of disability. Many live in unbelievable poverty and isolation! The vast majority of people with disabilities are excluded from schools, churches, and opportunities to work, as well as poverty reduction programs and HIV/AIDS information and services. As many as 80% of working age people with disabilities are unemployed and make up 15–20% of the poorest communities. They live marginalized, isolated lives and often begging is their sole means of survival.
Disabled children are three times more likely to become victims of sexual violence and rape. Other factors, such as physical dependence, life in institutions, and lack of access to legal rights, also make them particularly vulnerable to infection and abuse (UN Report on Disability and Rehabilitation).
Disability in Africa and in other parts of the world is seen as a stigma – a mark of disgrace in the family, bringing bad luck, or a punishment for sin that the parents have done. As a result, disabled children are most often excluded from education, social and community activities. They are virtually guaranteed to live out their lives as the poorest of the poor.
Since the inception of World Forgotten Children Foundation (WFCF) in 2005, the foundation and its board members have demonstrated a deep desire and passion for helping disabled orphans in the most isolated and poorest places in the world. WFCF is an entirely volunteer-driven initiative and 100% of contributed funds go to help orphaned and disabled children in third world countries.