|   Posted: October 30, 2023

See how some of our amazing church partners around the world care for the unique needs of every child, including those with disabilities.

3 Churches That Empower Children With Disabilities

See how some of our amazing church partners around the world care for the unique needs of every child, including those with disabilities.

Stories and photography by Edwin Estioko, Caroline A Mwinemwesigwa and Alejandra Zuniga
Juliet on playground with Christine

Juliet, a girl living with disabilities in Uganda, enjoys her Compassion center’s playground with staff member Christine.


One of the biggest benefits of working with so many unique churches is seeing them serve unique children with unique care.

All churches that partner with Compassion customize their activities to ensure each child is individually known, loved and protected. Their innovative thinking empowers young people and helps each family navigate their challenges in unique ways.

Here are three churches who go above and beyond to meet the needs of children and teenagers living with disabilities.

Therapy for Junadel

Junadel sits on her mother's lap

When Junadel was born, her mother knew her baby girl would require special care. But Madeline accepted her daughter as a gift from God. "I was grateful after birth and even today that God has given me my little angel," Madeline says.

By age 4, Junadel still wasn't walking. So when Madeline heard that a church in their community in the Philippines would begin offering a child development program to support families in poverty, she registered Junadel. "The pastor said the church and Compassion wanted to help me and my family in raising my daughter," Madeline remembers. "He also said they would like to support us in strengthening our faith in the Lord."

But there was a challenge: This Compassion center and its staff were not yet equipped or professionally trained to help children with disabilities. Still, they registered Junadel and two other children with disabilities and immediately set out to ensure they could meet their unique needs.

Marie Rose, center director, worked with the mothers of the children with disabilities to find a local clinic that could offer physical and learning therapy for the children. They found a clinic that had well-trained therapists with expert knowledge that the center staff lacked. The Compassion center would support them by covering the costs.

"Madeline and the two other mothers did their part and enrolled their children in therapy," Marie Rose says. "We were moved by the mothers’ dedication, and so we supported them. Compassion paid for the therapy, and we helped them in any other way we could."

Not long after, Junadel began walking, albeit slowly, with tiny baby steps. The therapy center said Junadel’s fine and gross motor skills have developed, as well as her learning capability. Slowly, Junadel learned to pick up pieces of paper, crumple them and even write her name.

Junadel’s sponsor in the U.S. was very supportive in her letters and was happy to know that Junadel goes to church and can now walk. Junadel has even memorized her first Bible verse!

Motor Skills for Melany

Melany learns to walk

"The world had caved in."

That’s how Jacqueline, a mother in El Salvador, felt after learning that her baby daughter had Down syndrome and a related condition that would prevent her from walking. She wondered how she would meet baby Melany’s additional needs when she could barely meet her most basic needs.

When she heard that a church in her neighborhood offered Compassion’s Survival initiative for babies and their moms living in poverty, she registered Melany right away.

"When I saw Melany for the first time, tenderness filled my heart,” says Damaris, a Survival staff member at the church’s Compassion center. “But when I saw Jacqueline, I only saw sadness, fear and depression. At that moment, I realized how much Jacqueline needed emotional support and counseling."

Jacqueline began taking Melany to the church for special activities that encouraged babies’ motor development. The staff gave them exercises to do at home as well. Trusting that God could work a miracle despite Melany’s diagnosis of never being able to walk, the center began paying for Melany to visit a specialist for regular sessions to help with her development.

"Damaris encouraged me and reminded me that Melany has a purpose and that I needed to trust in God," Jacqueline says.

As months passed, Melany began to defy her diagnosis by crawling and pulling herself up on furniture. When Melany was 18 months old, Jacqueline and Damaris witnessed her take her first steps.

"She is so active now," marvels her mother. "She not only walks — she climbs, searching for toys!"

A Proper School for Kader

Kader on his way to school carrying backpack

Kader, a 15-year-old student in Burkina Faso, has a visual disability. His single mother, Florence, struggles to meet her family’s needs. They usually have to skip meals because the global food crisis is making food scarcer and more expensive in their area.

So sending Kader to a specialized school was financially out of reach — until Florence registered her son in Compassion’s program at a local church. The church began paying for Kader to attend a school for blind students.

Kader is such an excellent student that he won the President’s Prize in 2020 for being the nation’s top student with a visual disability.

Meanwhile, his church is also helping meet the family’s needs for food, supplying them with groceries to keep Kader growing strong.

These are just a few stories out of thousands showing how children with disabilities are being empowered by the global Church — one Body that includes staff, volunteers, sponsors, donors, prayer partners, sponsored children and their families. The on-the-ground support that our church partners give to children affirms their unique value and reminds them of their infinite worth in Christ.


The 6-Year-Old Translator

Watch the moving story of Maria Eunice, a wise 6-year-old girl in Brazil. With the support of her determined parents and her loving center staff, Eunice already developed a unique gift of communication that she uses to help combat societal barriers for her family and others in the deaf community.

Sponsor a Child With Disabilities

Child throwing hands up in the air

Be one of the voices telling them how much they’re worth!

Child throwing hands up in the air