By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
It started like chorus, but now it has stanzas, attracting voices across ocean.
The Engraced Ones prayer support group started with one person’s initiative, it later expanded to two, gradually the chain stretched and is currently accommodating many voices championing the advocacy for children with special needs.
In the prayer group, everyone is represented; the haves and the haves not. In fact, chunk of the population rely on others and can’t provide for their children. Despite these, the ‘khaki leader’ insist that everyone must show love to those in need regardless.
The group which comprises of mothers of special needs children always believe in the power of the Almighty God to handle all situations.
Interestingly, the NGO’s third quarterly prayer meeting saw many people who came to assist the organisation to attend spiritual heights.
Speaking at the weekend during the Prayer at its School of Grace, in Jikwoyi-Abuja, the Coordinator, Mrs. Bibora Yinkere harped on the dream, successes and challenges.
“This advocacy group for me is a call from God to address certain challenges that parents of children with special needs are passing through in the country. I said it is a call from God because I didn’t start the group when my daughter was three years old, until recently when I am being compelled in my spirit to start something. When the inspiration came to me, I discussed with other parents who have children with special needs and they saw the need for us to come together as a group. When we started, all we do was to pray and encourage each other on how to handle the challenges.
“It is challenging running this programme but God has been faithful to us. Currently, we support one another; The Engraced Ones, care givers and lovers of children with special needs. We are all women and we support one another and share stories on our various challenges. We pray together and encourage each other.
“We have prayer meeting in homes where we gather and pray for our children. We also have sensitization programs where we go to the market, schools, churches and various communities to talk to people and tell them how they can identify these children and know the factors responsible.
While speaking on the need to involve stakeholders, the Coordinator said, “there are so many things that people don’t know about this kind of condition. We have gifted children who are classified under this special needs. If you have a child that is a genius in a regular class room, it is a problem because he can’t fit where other children are assembled. There are also children with syndrome, children living with autism, etc are other various conditions we are fighting against.”
“For instance, autism is a major challenge and most people are not aware. It is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.”
Autism has been studied extensively and increasing research is indicating that nutrients like Glutathione and Vitamin C could be useful for supporting some of the problems associated with this complex condition.
Children with autism have low levels of glutathione, and often have impaired glutathione detox pathways. Some of the symptoms of autism include; Delayed learning of language, difficulty in making eye contact and difficulty in holding a conversation.
Others are; Lack of interest in making friendships, poor motor skills, repetitive mannerisms, fixation on objects and lack of spontaneous or make-believe play.
She called on parents of children with special needs to come out and not to give in to fear. “Unfortunately, some parents have not yet come to terms with certain realities about their children. Some withdraw completely from society, and we try to talk to them and bring them out of the situation.
“Irrespective of the conditions, parents should know that the children are human beings, they should see it as an avenue to take care of them. The parents should be caring and observant so as to better take care of the children. There is a face of denial, but they need to come out of it. Some went through suicidal stage and blame themselves that probably they didn’t do certain things right during pregnancy, some feel like killing the child while some kill the child eventually.
Also speaking, a member of the NGO, Mrs. Gbemisola Alade, said prayer is the secrete weapon of the organisation.
“We always seem the face of God because we know He is the only one that can help us. No matter our challenges in life, when we turn to God, He will not abandon us. God is the only way out of any problem we face in life.”
She urged members of the public to always seek the face of God at all times.
“We can’t do anything on our own. Whatever we do, it is God that completes it for us. Our human effort is never enough to address any problem unless if God wills it. We at this NGO understand the power of God that is why we call on him to intervene.”