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Stories of Triumph and Transformation

Stories of Triumph and Transformation

Last week I witnessed how hope is being restored in marginalized communities in Tunisia through projects designed to promote autonomy for people with disabilities.

These projects offer three years of training and resources for people with disabilities and their families in:  

  • Communication skills.
  • Family dynamics.
  • Problem solving.
  • Human rights.
  • Responsibilities that come with independence.
  • Developing social media groups to ask questions, share resources, and maintain contact with one another.

Before participating in these projects, those with disabilities and their families had felt shamed and marginalized by society. While society’s treatment of them has not changed over the past three years, the people with disabilities and their families have.

They expressed that their participation in these projects has caused them to reject the labels and limitations that society places on them.

Because of these projects:

  • They feel hope.
  • They have discovered their voice.
  • They have plans to continue using that collective voice to push for change.
  • They have built community, and through that community, they have found support, acceptance, friendship, and strength.

At the end of our time together, I thanked the families for sharing their stories of triumph and transformation with me. I reminded them that the purpose of our work in Tunisia is not to create and run projects, but to help communities identify their own needs and solutions and to inspire and empower them to work towards the change they want to see.

Like them, we are people of faith, and we believe that God has called us to work towards justice and against shame. We also believe that we honor God by honoring all the people He created. By treating these participants with the dignity they deserve as God’s image bearers, and by shining the light of hope into their lives, we have been blessed to witness these people with disabilities and their families embrace the opportunity for a brighter future.

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)

 

 

 

About the Author: Julia is an IDEAS Associate and moved to Tunisia in 2021. She oversees community needs assessments, project development and implementation, local partner relationships, and impact measurement for an IDEAS partnering project. Enjoy other blogs by Julia, such as Dignity for Those with Disabilities.