As well as our core sponsorship work, we also have several projects to help children. One of these is the ENid project run by AAC supporters, Dawn & Peter Ritchie.
Paola is a delightful 20-year-old young lady with a constant smile. She is really excited to meet us. With cerebral palsy, she has virtually no speech but we instantly feel a bond. She is still allowed to go to school but has to stay in the kindergarten class. Paola is wheelchair-bound, but due to the Guatemalan roads, her mum carries her a lot of the time.
Then there’s Edwin. A likeable young man, a real character in his local church in Jocotenango, but with significant learning difficulties, he struggles with life. In floods of tears, he tells us, between the sobs, of casual work sweeping the floor. He works really hard, then the boss refuses to pay him!
We knew we had to do something!
The ‘ENid Project’ is a start-up initiative operating within the Christian sponsorship charity of ‘Living Water Adopt-A-Child’. The project aims to support children and young adults with special educational needs & disabilities in the various Christian ministry areas of Adopt-A-Child in Guatemala, where life is hard for many families. There is very little or no state provision towards special needs schooling and care.
My mother-in-law, Enid, struggled at school in 1940s Britain. After a long absence through illness, there was no help available on her return, in fact, the teachers actively made fun of her! In light of her negative educational experiences, she now has a heart for the special needs children of Guatemala. Enid prays passionately for them, so we decided to name this project in her honour on her 80th birthday recently. The project name also reflects the combined desire to address both educational need ‘EN’ and provide a new self-esteem and identity ‘id’…’ENid’ project.
Still, in its infancy, there is much development needed to realise its vision of improving the lives of special needs children and their families.
In light of such an ambitious goal, for such a large need, the big question is how?
After prayer and discussion, we have decided to produce and sell high-quality, hand-made art, crafts and jewellery with a Christian ethos. The rationale is to generate a sufficient funding stream by engaging local churches, and the wider community, in collaborative partnership. Our goals are yet to be realised, but we pray that after early beginnings with an outlet in a local charity shop, with a promising product range but limited sales, we are now seeking to establish operations within our local church at Emmanuel, in Pensby on the Wirral.
The ENid Project received an inspirational boost following our recent ‘Envision’ trip to Guatemala when we were able to visit our lovely sponsored children in their own homes, including Paola and Edwin. We were so blessed by the Christ-centred love and heart of Adopt-A-Child, we just knew there was more we had to do!
Our hearts now remain with the beautiful people of Guatemala! May God bless them.
Pete and Dawn Ritchie, Emmanuel Church, Wirral.