Helping Special Children Lead a Full Life
By Steve Stirling
President and CEO, MAP International
Living with a disability isn’t easy. As a child in Korea, I contracted polio and lost my ability to run and play like other children. But because I was later adopted by an American family, I received excellent health care and today live a full life.
But other children living in resource poor countries aren’t as fortunate. Most countries aren’t “disability-friendly.” There are no ramps for wheel chairs or special education classes. Therapists, medical procedures and basic medicines are too costly for most families. In some cultures, disabled children are hidden away or even abandoned.
This is not an isolated situation. There are more than a billion disabled people in the world and 80 percent of them live in developing countries.
Recently some of the MAP International staff visited the Dominican Republic and met disabled children living at Casa de Luz, a home started and run by Pastor Lucas Carvasal and his wife, Tempora. After raising and then losing a disabled child or their own, the Carvasals have dedicated their lives to caring for other special-needs children.
Many of these children require doses of pain medication and anti-seizure medicines to simply get them through each day. These medicines add an additional expense to their already-strained budget and create an additional obstacle to caring for the children.
But children like Rosara, who along with her brother Christopher, were abandoned, are now thriving at Casa de Luz thanks to the loving care they receive. And Victor, who was born with a severe spinal deformity and lived most of his nine years begging on the streets, has a home for the first time.
We are so glad that MAP, working with Foundation for Peace, was able to help provide some of the medicines to Casa de Luz and is procuring more of the live-changing drugs needed to give these children a better life. As CEO of MAP International, I feel honored to be part of this life-saving work and grateful that we can support a special place like Casa de Luz.
With so many people in the world unable to access the medicines they need, MAP International’s work is never done. But with the support of pharmaceutical and individual donors we continue to reach more of those in need every day.
Steve Stirling is President and CEO of MAP International. To learn more about MAP, go to www.MAP.org