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Disability Inclusion Training Makes Way for New Leaders

Boniface had always faced the world with a song in his heart. Despite being born with a disability that robbed him of his sight, he found solace in the melodies that danced through his mind. Music was his constant companion, a beacon of light in the darkness that had surrounded him for as long as he could remember. But Boniface’s journey had been far from harmonious.

At 31 years of age, married with one child, he had endured countless trials and tribulations. His disability had cast a shadow over his life. He was disrespected and undervalued by others in his own community. The world seemed to have turned its back on his talents, relegating him to the sidelines while others took center stage.

One of Boniface’s greatest dreams had always been to take a leading role in church services, to let his voice soar in praise alongside his fellow worshippers. Yet, this dream had always eluded him, as the church, too, ignored his aspirations. It felt as if the world conspired to silence his voice, to stifle his dreams.


In an attempt to carve out a life for himself, Boniface turned to farming. He tilled the land with unwavering determination, sowing seeds of hope and hard work. But his efforts were in vain, for his crops were robbed by heartless individuals and left to wither, cut down by those who could not see past his disability. Boniface yearned to sell his produce like any other farmer, but the world remained unyielding.

Boniface’s education had also suffered due to a lack of resources. He had been forced to drop out of school in the fifth grade, depriving him of the opportunities that education could have provided.
However, change was on the horizon.


In 2019, World Relief Malawi began working with churches in Boniface’s community to raise awareness and train church leaders in disability inclusion. The disability inclusion training sought to shift views and assumptions about those living with disabilities and remove the barriers to community participation, making way for the gifts of each and every person to be recognized and given space to shine.

Pastors and neighbors in Boniface’s community share how disability inclusion training impacted them.

With the newfound awareness, the community began to see people with disabilities in a new light. They were no longer relegated to the fringes but were invited to actively participate in community activities. They were even welcomed to take leading roles in church services, including preaching, praying, and, most importantly to Boniface, singing.

One Sunday, Boniface attended a church service and heard, for himself, about the transformation and new perspective the church had taken on. The news sparked a glimmer of hope within him.

Empowered by this newfound awareness, Boniface attended a disability inclusion training facilitated by World Relief to see what it was all about. He emerged from the program with a renewed sense of purpose and self-worth. He no longer saw himself as a burden but as an asset to his community, a beacon of inspiration for others.


With newfound confidence and determination, Boniface took it upon himself to create a support group for people with disabilities. Thirteen individuals, each with their unique challenges, joined him in this endeavor. The group’s mission was clear – to help their friends and fellow community members realize their worth and potential.

In a twist of fate, the land that Boniface had once borrowed to farm was no longer available to him. Undeterred, he adapted. Boniface began gathering sand and selling it for construction. Now, he’s able to sustain his family by using his abilities to build a unique business.  

As Boniface and his group continued to work tirelessly to break down the barriers that had confined them, their community flourished. His neighbors learned that diversity was their strength and that every individual, regardless of their abilities, had a valuable role to play. Boniface’s voice, once silenced, now rings out as a symbol of resilience and hope, a testament to the power of inclusion and the impact it could have on an entire community.

In the end, Boniface’s story is not just about one man’s triumph over adversity, it is a testament to the transformative power of awareness and inclusion. His song, once a lonely melody in the darkness, has become a chorus of unity, a reminder that, together, his community could create a symphony of change that willl resonate far beyond the confines of their village.

At World Relief, we believe every person is created in the image of God and has inherent value — including those with disabilities. Read more about how we’re creating disability-inclusive communities at World Relief.

David Mhango is a data-driven storyteller passionate about advocating for the underprivileged. He currently works as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at World Relief Malawi, where he works to ensure that our programs are effective and reach those who need them most. David believes that data can be a powerful tool for change, and is committed to using it to tell the stories of the people we serve and to advocate for their needs.

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