In some countries disabilities are misunderstood - this meant that for years Pardon had to deal with bullying and insults, until he stepped through the doors of Mercy House...
A boy named Pardon is small for his 21 years, missing one arm and slow to learn because no-one ever believed he could.
Makululu compound in Zambia is a hard place to grow up; the high level of poverty usually leads to chronic malnutrition, illness and a general sense of hopelessness.
Carrying a weapon
For a young person with a disability, the problems are compounded. Pardon used to carry a whip to fend off the attacks of others who teased and tormented him as he aimlessly wandered the streets of Makululu.
One day he stepped inside the gates of Mercy House, a project supported by The Freedom Challenge, where he was greeted, fed, and shown the same love that Christ would have offered. Anne, Mercy House’s director asked to speak with Pardon’s parent or guardian and met with his 76-year-old grandmother Anna.
Many children to feed
Anna had seven children but only three remain alive. Of her 15 grandchildren, she has taken in eight to live with her in a tiny house that she struggles to maintain. She asked if Mercy House could please feed Pardon and Anne agreed.
Now Pardon attends the school at Mercy House regularly and is learning to sit in the classrooms without his whip. The other children are learning that is not right to treat him differently because of his disability and they are passing on what they have learned in the wider community.
‘Now I can buy food’
Pardon’s grandmother Anna began working at Mercy House one day a week.
“I feel nice and it is a blessing to me because I was not affording to give Pardon food,” explains Anna. “And I am keeping lots of children so it is a challenge. Because he is bigger he would eat more.”
“I clean the toilets,” she says proudly. “I help them by cleaning and they help me to buy food to feed my other grandchildren who are orphans. Now I can buy food and we eat together.”
A shy and thankful smile lights up Anna’s face as she concludes “I bless Mercy House and Mercy House blesses both Pardon and me. “Mapalo to mapalo,” she says in her native Bemba language: “Blessing to blessing.”