When Grace Kyakuwa was born, her parent’s family and relatives wanted her mother to stop breastfeeding her so that she would die of hunger. Grace was born without three of her limbs and many people in her Rwadan community saw her disability as a curse.
According to family members, no one in their community had ever given birth to someone like Grace and her birth brought about the death of their livestock but Grace’s parents wouldn’t give in to the pressure to kill their daughter.
“When I saw my baby, I just thanked God. I wasn’t shocked because I had never seen a disabled person before. I loved what came out of my womb, which God created within me,” Beransiira, Grace’s mother told Compassion International.
Family members started threatening Grace’s parents, so much that Grace’s uncle threatened to kill her father if Grace and her curse were not taken away from this world but Grace’s father refused to give in.
One day, while Grace’s father was working as a security guard, the house he was protecting was broken into and he was killed.
Grace’s mother knew she had to leave the community immediately. With no time to mourn her husband, Grace’s mother fled with her four children to Uganda. But when they got to Uganda, they were faced with more threats from her husband’s family who lived nearby.
Thankfully, Grace’s mother met Betty, a local Ugandan village leader, who helped them live without fear.
“When I heard Beransiira’s story, my heart was filled with compassion towards her and I offered to help. Grace came to live with me when she was just 4 years old. At the time she was tiny and very malnourished. She was in bad condition. I already had many children of my own, so I wasn’t sure what life with Grace was going to look like, but I took her in anyway,” shares Jaja Betty, Grace’s guardian.
Betty registered Grace to be sponsored at the Compassion-assisted child development center, which provided the education and essential medical resources she desperately needed. Being at the center helped Grace to feel less like a curse and more like a person with a God-given purpose. She stopped living in self-pity and grew to love and accept herself.
Most importantly, Grace believes she can do everything normal people can do.
“I think people believe that those of us with disabilities are useless and can’t do much in the earth. To them, we’re not useful or productive. But I’ve never thought like that. Whatever normal people do with limbs, I can do them too. For instance, I cook, I am able to mop our house, I’m able to wash and so I’m not limited. I have a goal of being a journalist one day and doing radio presentation. I believe I can do anything. I trust that my testimony had a purpose and a big one at that. To encourage other people like me, termed as disabled, to know they have a purpose, that God loves them and they can make it in life,” she said.
Watch her share her story here
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