The Deaf in Uganda are often kept on the margins of society. Employment with accommodations is hard to come by and, unfortunately, the Deaf are not always met with kindness in Ugandan culture.
However, with God’s leading, one Deaf girl in Uganda went from hidden at home to finding the joy of employment and Christian community.
Grace and her older brother were both orphaned at a young age. Grace is Deaf and her older brother kept her at home for safety while he worked to provide for them.
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A tailoring shop owner, Mrs. Ssemwanga, employed Grace’s brother. When the owner realized he had a sister, she decided to employ Grace as well who began to excel in craft work.
Eventually, Grace and Mrs. Ssemwanga met Resty, a staff member with Every Child Ministries who was just out doing her shopping. After learning Grace’s story, Resty was moved to connect Grace and her brother with ECM’s Family Empowerment Program. ECM supported Grace to start a shoe-selling business in addition to her craft work.
ECM’s Mark Luckey says, “But it doesn’t really end there. Resty began to think about our own program and kids in our own program who also had some difficulties that they were facing. One of them she thought of was a girl named Sarah.
“Sarah is also Deaf…and she’s a teenager. She basically was running out of hope. She was trying to learn how to do some sewing but just began to run into lots of issues along the way.”
Sarah was introduced to Grace and began working alongside her at the shop learning tailoring. Sarah and Grace hit it off right away. Now, they enjoy working together and having lengthy conversations in sign language!
“That might sound like a small thing but it’s not,” says Luckey. “In countries like that especially, there are just not a lot of ways for [Deaf] to communicate with people. So to bring them together, what an encouragement for them.”
Lucky says, “We need to just be praying that God would continue to work and that we would see it. You know, Resty went out shopping. Well, she goes shopping all the time, and yet her eyes were open to see what was happening around her…. When you’re relationship oriented, you’re willing to just take that extra time.
“When we can do that through the hope of the Gospel of Jesus, then we’ve opened doors that otherwise did not look like they could be opened. People like Grace and Sarah find renewed joy and find hope in Christ.”
This story originally appeared at Mission Network News and is republished here with permission.