You’ll never guess what this lady did with water and flour
An amazing thing happened in Kosovo for children with severe disabilities. Former BMS World Mission volunteer Carol Pratt shares the story of how a seemingly simple creation actually changed lives.
Water. Flour. Newspaper. Cardboard. Mix them all together, add a bit of creativity and a heart for children, and what do you get?
If you guessed specialist chairs for disabled children, you were right. We were surprised too!
But that’s exactly what special needs teacher Carol Pratt has been making in Kosovo with BMS. On her latest volunteer experience she was working at a school and in local villages with children who have disabilities such as Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy.
Not only do the children face physical challenges as they engage in activities, the school faces financial challenges with a limited budget and resources. That’s why Carol and her colleague Arlene decided to get creative and the idea to create homemade chairs was born. Carol was touched to see the chairs changed children’s lives. Children like Kaltrina*.
Kaltrina is a little girl who had spent her entire life lying on a mattress or sofa due to her disability. She was unable to sit. Carol helped create a chair for Kaltrina and fondly remembers her reaction the first time she was able to sit up properly. “Kaltrina’s hands were waving all over the place and she had the biggest smile on her face,” says Carol. “It gave her a completely new view on life for the first time.”
The chairs are amazing. They are made from such simple materials, yet they have they the power to enhance the life of the most vulnerable children.
The cardboard chairs provide more support than traditional classroom chairs and can even be custom-made for each child. “We see what size it needs to be for their legs and can angle it back to create proper head support,” says Carol. They’ve also created some chairs with table tops so children can access hands-on activities more easily.
Creating the chairs was a wonderful step forward for these children, but Carol realises that are still many challenges ahead. She believes that parents of children with disabilities need to be encouraged that they can send their children to school. “It’s good to remind them that they can take these children out and be proud of them,” says Carol. “They deserve an education too.”
Carol has been out to serve as a BMS volunteer three times, once in Delhi and twice in Kosovo, and is very thankful for each experience. She has even planned a return trip on her own over Easter to reunite with the children and families she grew to love in Kosovo.
“It was great to be able to make some sort of difference,” says Carol. “And it was amazing to build the relationships. The children and families were so lovely.”
Are you interested in volunteering with BMS? Find out more today about the opportunities that we have waiting for you!
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.