When Alisbell Ocón was born with Down syndrome, friends and neighbors assumed she would never go to school.
In Nicaragua, children with disabilities are often viewed as a burden, because it is assumed others will need to care for them their entire lives. Many families view an education as a needless waste of time and resources.
But Alisbell’s parents, Jonathan and Isabel, were different. They know Alisbell is a gift from God, and considered her disability as a blessing to them. They say they have grown closer to God since her birth.
Jonathan and Isabel enrolled Allie in a public school in the country near their home, but resources were extremely limited, and nothing was available to help children with special needs.
Then they learned about NCA from Alisbell’s aunt, who has another niece with autism who is thriving in the 7th grade. Greg Kynast, director of NCA Matagalpa and MV missionary, explains why Alisbell is so special. “We have had several students with Down’s syndrome apply in the past, but have never (until now) felt that all the pieces were in place for us to be able to serve the needs of the children and their families.”
On her first day of school, they took a picture of Allie with Greg. He later commented, “she may not seem all that excited to be photographed with her new principal, but I’m thrilled to have been able to say “yes” to her parents after they completed the application process!”
This is a pivotal time for the school. Recent political protests in Nicaragua have made it challenging to keep a consistent school schedule. They are continuing to adapt, and some online schooling has helped, but the entire country is in need of prayer.
You can help the ongoing development of schools like NCA Matagalpa through a gift to Missionary Ventures Where Most Needed fund.