Here, as in many third-world countries, ideas about the mentally-disabled are far from modern. There are many misconceptions about what causes it and what can be done for it. Many times, the mentally-disabled are shunned or abused; and there are very few nationally-sponsored special programs or education for those with this type of special need. But things are changing, at least in my little town. Just this past year, a school opened the area’s first classroom for students with special needs. The director of this school is adamant about educating parents and the community about the mentally-disabled. The Center that I am here with is sending its special-needs children to this classroom. A sponsor of the Center from Australia heard about the school and got together Christmas presents for all of its special-needs students. I was blessed to be one of the “workers” who got to go and distribute those presents.
The kids were so excited. They were just so happy to have visitors come to their classroom, but the fact that we had gifts for them was totally amazing. Kids here don’t receive presents often, if at all, so it was just an extra joy to be able to bless these kids with some. To give you some idea of how weird this was for them – they had no idea how to deal with the wrapping paper, they had probably never seen anything like it before. For the most part, we had to open their presents for them. They didn’t mind, and I didn’t mind much either.