Scroll Top

‘Giving Honour’ to SEN Children in Afghanistan

Written by Ken Wong (Communications Officer)

This year, CEDAR Fund participated in the ‘Marathon Charity Programme’ to raise funds for local and Afghanistan children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and their families. SEN children face many challenges as they grow up, especially in developing countries, where their circumstances are particularly concerning. In response to the teachings of caring for the ‘less honourable’ body parts in this issue of ‘Back to the Bible’, I would like to share how CEDAR has helped SEN children in Afghanistan.

Under the prolonged devastation of war, the people of Afghanistan have suffered various hardships: economic decline, extreme poverty, malnutrition, and a nearly collapsing public health system. Due to a severe lack of hygiene and medical support, many illnesses remain untreated. According to a survey, 17.3% of Afghan children aged 2 to 17 have disabilities. If these children cannot receive timely assistance, they will face even greater challenges in the future.

Education empowers children, providing them with more opportunities as they grow. However, due to the lack of support for SEN in local schools, Afghan children with disabilities struggle to access education, leading to dim prospects. Additionally, the societal stigma surrounding disabilities is seen as a source of disgrace for families, making the children ‘less honourable’. These children are often socially isolated, confined to their homes, and deprived of outdoor activity and interpersonal interactions. Data indicates that they are at a high risk for conditions such as muscular atrophy, anxiety, and migraines.

‘Less honourable’ children, even when they have the opportunity to attend schools or other public places, still face humiliation. In our project to help SEN children in Afghanistan, there is a beneficiary named Rafi (pseudonym) who has a hearing impairment. He once attended a mainstream school, but unfortunately, the school had never accommodated hearing-impaired students before. They lacked the experience to help him integrate into campus life. His classmates did not understand or empathise with him; instead, they often mocked and made fun of him, causing him great distress.

Although these children are deemed ‘less honourable’ from a secular perspective, we believe they are also precious children of the Lord. Therefore, we collaborate with local partners to help ‘give honour’ to children with visual and hearing impairments by providing them with life skills training, teaching them braille and sign language, assisting them in attending inclusive education schools, and providing braille and sign language training for teachers. Like Rafi, many of the assisted children excel in these schools, proving that even in the face of obstacles, they have the ability to learn and showcase their talents.

Despite many still believing that people with disabilities are ‘less honourable’, they are also part of our community. We are grateful that through the grace of the Lord, CEDAR can ‘give honour’ to these children and raise awareness in the community about special education, enabling acceptance and inclusion. Please continue to pray for our ministry so that more SEN children can experience a dignified and joyful childhood.

A child with SEN in Afghanistan is learning sign language.