Simon and Peter
Meet Simon and Peter. The brothers were found by a Hands for Hope social worker during a regular assessment visit to Namuwongo. Locked inside, they were banging on the windows of their small house. Concerned, HfH asked the neighbours about the boys and were told that they had special needs and their father would keep them inside when he went to work to keep them out of trouble. A rare, hard-working single father of 4 children, including 2 younger daughters, Ben was doing his best to support his family after his wife left them. He works casual jobs at a local market to pay for food, rent and school fees for his daughters but couldn’t afford any special programs for Simon and Peter and was doing his best to manage their behavior as they became teenagers.
Simon was extremely hyperactive and could become violent. He would walk around the slum for hours on end without getting tired, often getting taken advantage of. Peter is completely mute but can understand simple language. His father says he used to eat anything he could find in the slum – even rotting garbage. The community didn’t understand what was wrong with the boys – they thought it was some kind of witchcraft. The boys would be shunned, beaten and stoned so Ben had no choice but to lock them inside to keep them safe while he was working.
Now, part of the special needs program at Hands for Hope, Simon and Peter have somewhere to go every day and are also provided with medications prescribed after a thorough medical and psychological assessment. Tears streaming down his cheeks, Ben says he thinks God may have sent HfH to him. His boys are calm and obey instructions now. They can even do simple household chores and he proudly boasts that Peter can now take himself to the toilet by himself. Hands for Hope has taught Ben, along with other parents of special needs children, how to deal with the challenges they will inevitably face through trainings led by qualified psychologists and social workers. They learn how to avoid triggers and how to communicate effectively with their children. They are also taught how to talk to their communities about special needs to increase understanding and acceptance. Ben says his boys are no longer blamed for their unusual behavior or feared by their neighbors, but loved and treated with compassion.
Your donation of £20 /month could support a child such as Simon or Peter in Hands for Hope’s special needs programme.
Note: Names have been changed to protect the children’s identities.