The disabled in Africa
In Africa, an estimated 60-80 million people are living with disabilities today. Disabled people are estimated at 10% of the general African population, but possibly as high as 20% in the poorer regions.
The vast majority of Africans with disabilities are excluded from schools and opportunities to work, guaranteeing that they will live out their lives as the poorest of the poor. School enrollment for the disabled is estimated at no more that 5-10 percent. For many begging becomes a sole means of survival. Every day in Africa, many people are disabled by malnutrition and disease, environmental hazards, natural disasters, traffic and industrial accidents, civil conflict and war.
Disabled people live in unbelievable poverty and isolation. They lack simple mobility and are often hidden away because of fear and prejudice.
It has been reported that out of an estimated 360 million deaf people in the world, only 2% of them are Christians. That means 98% remain unsaved, yet Christ challenged the church to go into all the world. Deaf people are among the largest unreached people groups in the world.
Blind people are often abandoned, neglected and isolated, even within the church. They lack access to gospel literature and Bibles as different types of sign language and braille is not available especially to those living in rural areas and in poverty situations.
The church has the opportunity to lead the way in spiritual and social transformation by serving and becoming a loving healing community for the disabled.
Education, physical therapy and equipment like wheelchairs and crutches are some of the needs the church can provide to people with disabilities. Many children with disabilities are kept in their homes (hidden from the outside world). They are seen as outcasts, and there is a negative stigma around them. The church can outreach and show love to the silent “outcasts”.
- For believers who are loving and caring and able to communicate the gospel in word and deed among the disabled.
- For believers who are working among the disabled of their communities to be sufficiently equipped to delivered the message of hope to the disabled.