Now in his early 30s, Kyaw Lwin has been profoundly deaf since birth. Although well cared for by his family, he lives a very isolated life. Until last year, he had never even eaten a meal with anyone outside his own household, and had never been to school. Like the majority of hearing impaired persons, he does not speak sign language, making the communication of even simple everyday things challenging.
Research in Myanmar shows that people with disabilities are particularly disadvantaged in life right from an early age. A lack of education opportunities result in many people with disabilities being socially isolated. Especially those like Kyaw Lwin with hearing impairments who are unable to read or write.
A small group of Christians have established a project to help provide life skills and work training for people with disabilities, as well as sharing the good news with them. But this presents a huge challenge when trying to communicate deep truths and concepts on top of yet another language barrier. Sign language training has slowly helped to bridge this gap, but it is still a long and slow path.
At present, only a few churches have embraced the idea of specifically reaching out to include people with disabilities. For many, the main barrier is one of attitude – many view people with disabilities with a sense of pity, rather than recognising them as people created in the image of God. This means that very few of the over 1 million people with disabilities have a chance to hear the gospel in a meaningful way.
Will you pray for Myanmar?
- Pray for those groups who are reaching out in creative ways to people with disabilities to see real fruit, and to be able to engage and communicate effectively with all different types of people with disabilities.
- Pray that more churches would be motivated to adapt their services and practices to intentionally include people with disabilities.