“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance!”
Yaneiri is 11 years old and has cerebral palsy. She also suffers from frequent seizures. Yaneiri had a wheelchair when she was younger, but it broke over five years ago. At that time, sweet Yaneiri lost the mobility and independence that she once enjoyed. Her father has needed to carry her everywhere she went ever since.
Yaneiri’s dreams of going to school and being part of her community died when that wheelchair broke.
Yaneiri and her parents longed for a new wheelchair, but it was too costly for their family. Living under the strain of disability and poverty in the Dominican Republic means that necessary durable medical equipment is an unattainable luxury. Things that we take for granted in the United States like a functioning wheelchair are out of reach for so many families.
Yaneiri’s broken-down wheelchair symbolized so much more than poverty.
It was a constant reminder of the emotional weight of disability in her family’s life. Her father explained that when she was first born, he had hoped that Yaneiri would be healed. He did not want to accept the fact that Yaneiri’s disability would be a permanent part of her future. It was only after he realized that Yaneiri’s cerebral palsy and seizure disorder could not be healed that he began taking care of her.
Yet caring for Yaneiri is draining and demanding because she can never be left alone. And carrying her growing body was becoming a burden too heavy even for her devoted father to bear. But Yaneiri’s parents never stopped loving her. In fact, her father describes little Yaneiri as his queen. He insists that she must never be alone and since she was unable to go to school without a wheelchair, that meant that Yaneiri’s father cared for her from early morning until 2pm each day without a break while her mother went to work. When Yaneiri’s mother got home from work, her father would leave for his job, and she would take over Yaneiri’s continuous care. They never received any sort of caregiving help, and since they couldn’t be home at the same time, their marriage began to suffer.
But all that changed when our Joni and Friends North Carolina team brought our Wheels for the World outreach to Yaneiri’s village and she received her new wheelchair! Now Yaneiri can go to school and to church, and her father no longer has to carry her everywhere they go. She has regained her mobility and dignity. Yaneiri’s future is bright!
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
Yaneiri’s whole family received new hope that day she received her new wheelchair, but they weren’t the only ones blessed by our Wheels for the World program and our Joni and Friends North Carolina team during that wheelchair distribution.
Over 400 people heard the Gospel during that outreach, and 138 people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!
That’s what Joni and Friends is all about! Through Wheels for the World and all of our other excellent programs and outreach events, children an adults living with disability receive the practical help they so desperately need. And better still, special needs families all over the country and all over the world are finding new hope in Jesus!
God can use you to send help and hope to those who need it most – in North Carolina and in the Dominican Republic! You can show your support today so that more and more children like Yaneiri can experience a hope-filled future with Christ!