ELCA World Hunger: A new life
When Brian was born prematurely, his doctors told his mother that he would never walk, talk, or function normally. Ashamed of his diagnosis, his family kept him at home. That was until Building a Caring Community, or BCC, staff visited Brian’s family and invited Brian to enroll in the therapeutic day program.
He flourished at the day program, and at age 3, he began to walk. At 5, he was enrolled in a primary school that serves children with special needs.
Brian is one of more than 200 children with intellectual and physical disabilities served by the BCC program, a partnership between the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania and Mosaic International, a faith-based organization in Nebraska serving more than 3,000 people with intellectual disabilities.
St. Paul financially supports Mosaic International through the daily ministry fund. Lenten Wednesday offerings at St. Paul will go towards supporting ELCA World Hunger, which provides funding for BCC and countless other initiatives like it throughout the world. The goal for this Lenten season is to send $20,000 to World Hunger.
Today, there are 10 BCC day centers, helping families move beyond isolation and stigma and into full participation in their communities. In addition to caring for children at the center, children, like Brian, with complicated medical needs receive regular physicals and visits to doctors and hospitals when necessary. The BCC also trains parents to care for special needs, sets up projects that increase family incomes, and provides job opportunities for young people with disabilities beyond school age.
For Betsy Buschkemper, a BCC volunteer and a pediatric nurse, working with the BCC has moved her from “feeling pity” for children like Brian to celebrating “the potential and the happiness and joy they feel and know in life that they wouldn’t have had a chance for otherwise,” she said. “Brian has a shot at a normal life now and is a happy little boy.”