nuns for children with disabilities on KTO
CRITICISM – In a poignant documentary, Aurélien Petit films the daily life of Franciscan and Augustinian sisters. In this West African country, they welcome and care for young people who suffer in body and soul. Benin, the future of childhooda film not to be missed, this Monday, March 6 at 8:35 p.m. on KTO.
“I wanted to be a missionary, to be a nurse. It was a fulfillment of my vocation, service to the poorest, to the most suffering.” Sister Julia realized her dream in Benin where she arrived in 1976. Today, this Spanish nun directs the health center of the Franciscan congregation located in the town of Zagnanado. In his poignant documentary, Benin, the future of childhood, Aurélien Petit follows this trained midwife in her daily work, surrounded by Beninese sisters, her collaborators. One of them, Sister Angèle, runs a separate structure, created in 2016 by Sister Julia, which welcomes children with disabilities.
Helping Moms Cope
“I am an educator and I specialize in psychoeducational supportsays Sister Angèle, who points out that people with disabilities are particularly badly accepted in Beninese society. “In our Children’s House, we work to ensure that young people are better treated and supported.In her office, the young director deploys treasures of listening and empathy when faced with a mother whose child is different. “Every day, I try to figure out how to make people understand that mothers are not responsible for their child’s situation. Why should they be attacked?To help them cope, mothers and toddlers are accommodated, for a variable period, in the Children’s House. The time to allow these women in distress, who are particularly vulnerable, to better manage the situation. To finally take care of their little one serenely. Far from the rejection, too often very real, of the father and the family.
Happy with their kids
In a bright physiotherapy room, Amos helps mothers to perform the best gestures, massages, which will allow young people with great difficulty in walking, to do so more easily. “Here, we try to perform muscle strengthening exercises, stretching, to correct retractionssays Amos. “Seeing other mothers gives me courage, strength“says one of them with a dazzling smile. Another sequence shows mothers singing, happy with their kids.
In the village of Dékanmey, in the archdiocese of Cotonou, the Sisters of Saint Augustine set up their congregation in 1968. They welcome, without time limit, young handicapped people who are most often abandoned by their families. About twenty boarders live and work here, supervised by five Augustinian sisters. The objective of these nuns is financial autonomy, through agricultural activities. Thanks to their community farm, everything is done to achieve food self-sufficiency.
“The Joy of Loving and Feeling Loved”
Thus, we follow Cédric, a teenager, in the henhouse. Accompanied by Sister Marie-José, he feeds the hens and collects the eggs every morning. In the afternoon, we find him in the fields. “These children suffer a lot, in silence, in total discretion, because abandoned by men”, confides this nun. Like Gaël, who comes from Nigeria, whom his father accompanied to the border before leaving him alone. She adds: “Community prayer gives us life, gives us back the joy of loving and feeling loved.Sister Elizabeth, director of the center, also talks about her faith:What we do is not a human work, it is a work of God.»
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