Rebecca Fry has spent the majority of her life passionately engaged in the work of serving children with disabilities and their families. She has been a special education teacher since 2000, and is also one of our Special Hope Network Board Members. Rebecca recently had the opportunity to spend two months with us in Zambia, and shared a few of her first hand reflections on the impact Special Hope is making in the lives of the precious children and families that we serve.
This was my 5th trip to Zambia; this time for 2 months – the longest yet! The ministry of Special Hope Network impacts HUNDREDS of families not only in Lusaka but those in villages and other provinces outside of the city. Communities are beginning to accept and embrace those with disabilities, even advocating for the individual with disabilities and their families! There is a powerful shift occurring in Zambia due to God’s calling and Special Hope’s response. Families who have children with disabilities are coming together to unite and support each other in all aspects of life. They are teaching others of God’s love for ALL children as it clearly states in the Bible. People are wanting to learn and grow and understand the individuals with disabilities and how to interact with them – God is truly moving Zambians in a direction they’ve never been in before!
My days in Zambia filled with various work tasks to support individuals and the organization as a whole – everything from training teachers/teams, working with teams to collaborate, working with students to problem-solve, organization of files/Dropbox, making phone calls, visiting schools around Lusaka to conduct observations, and so much more. The SHN Lusaka team is SO very incredible and dedicated to God’s calling!
One primary goal was to help our Resource Center close well. We focused upon school visits to make recommendations to families about new school sites, end of year reports for families and new schools, and bringing in nannies/parents to learn student programs so they can replicate those programs at home. We contacted 170 schools and visited 35+ schools, conducting interviews and observations. We completed the work and were able to make strong recommendations to parents as well as connect our Community Outreach Team to schools who were eager to be trained on how to serve students with disabilities.
While I was in Zambia, I was also able to visit Kabwata Orphanage and the Sangwani Community School, where I brought school supplies donated by friends and family in the US. Our SHN Community Outreach Team has been working with this school for the past few weeks so that they can begin to educate students with disabilities; it has been an incredible partnership! I had a chitenge dress made by an amazing Zambian seamstress, Rita and was able to eat Nshima and village chicken, the local traditional food.
I am so very honored to be a part of the work at SHN; I always tell people God calls me to Zambia to serve and so I go. I have such love and appreciation for Zambians, SHN, and the children each time I go, and my faith is just made even stronger by these interactions.
God’s work is evident in the daily duties of SHN; praise God for SHN and the work that they do!