"I haven't attended classes since my admission day," admitted Goldy, a 24-year-old handicapped college student. She is part of the approximately 15 percent of the world's population that lives with some form of disability.
Since 1992, December 3 has been set aside by the UN as a day to honor the disabled through the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year's goal was to remove barriers in order to create an inclusive and accessible society for all.
Enabling and Empowering
"I want to thank Gospel for Asia from the depths of my heart for providing me a way to go to class and study in college regularly," Goldy continued.
She is just one of the happy recipients of a tricycle through Gospel for Asia's Christmas gift distribution program. Goldy pedals the tricycle with her arms, so she can be more mobile and get to school on her own.
Gospel for Asia joined in honoring the disabled with a special event that took place at a large women's college. The day was filled with cultural events, awareness programs, music and dances. But the highlight came when the gift distribution began. In total, the workers gave out 50 tricycles, 102 blankets, 50 sweaters, 7 sewing machines, 9 rickshaws and 4 bicycles.
"I was so discouraged about my life because I am not able to walk," 25-year-old Mahamad said, "but I thank Gospel for Asia, because they gave me two legs by giving me this tricycle."
Whether blankets or adult tricycles, the gifts distributed brought joy and hope to those in need.
An Investment for Eternity
One of GFA's field leaders, M.A. Lalachan, gave a message to the 2,500 people gathered at the event. He shared about the major challenges faced by those who become disabled and ended with a challenge.
"It is high time that we learn that allocation of resources to such disabled persons is an investment," Lalachan stated, "rather than a mere charity or medical expense."
Volunteering to Make a Difference
Fifteen students from the women's college also participated as volunteers and helped in different areas, such as seating arrangement and transporting the disabled people to the event.
As these women saw the difference being made through the church, they were impressed and decided to commit their lives to serve the disabled after completing their studies.
The state minister of minority welfare, information and technology was among the special guests participating in the occasion. While delivering his address, he praised the sincere and strenuous efforts of the church and congratulated the church leadership for making a deliberate choice to love and care for the disabled and needy in society.
The principal of the college also expressed her appreciation and thanked Gospel for Asia for reaching out to the neediest people in society.
A total of 222 families were blessed and impacted by this event.