Being born with special needs didn’t stop little Karunia from feeling confident. She’s changing her community’s mindset and standing up to bullying!
Karunia was born with Apert Syndrome, a rare congenital condition that makes her look a little different. Because of these differences, this sweet girl has already faced great diversity in her life.
Sadly, in Karunia’s community in East Indonesia, where physical differences are rare, she received many hurtful stares and comments. Children in her village were scared of Karunia’s appearance and cried when seeing her.
Karunia’s mother, Angel, recalls the early stages of her life, sharing that Karunia suffered pain, such as high fevers, breathlessness, and excessive sweating. Her parents couldn’t believe their long-awaited baby girl looked differently than expected and felt unprepared to raise Karunia. Angel shares, “I just cried and wondered why God and entrusted her to me.”
But thanks to early interventions with child sponsorship organization Compassion International, local church leaders helped Angel and her husband, Candra, raise Karunia to grow into the healthy and thriving child of God she is today.
Through home visits and training from local church leaders, Angel and Candra were encouraged to think positively about this gift from God. Grace, the secretary at Karunia’s child development center, shares, “We can see how Karunia’s parents have changed from not accepting the fact of their daughter’s condition. They now accept who their baby is with all of their heart.”
Candra and Angel, Karunia’s parents, have taught their precious girl to accept and love her condition. Her father has encouraged her to internalize these words: “You are God’s gift.”
And she has taken those words to heart! Karunia is now a thriving young girl with a dream to become a singer when she grows up. Anges Singel, Karunia’s teacher shares: “I wasn’t sure about her ability in the first semester, but now I’m sure she is one of the good students in the class. She is focused and quickly understands anytime a teacher gives an instruction to the class.”
“I am beautiful like my mother.” Karunia exclaimed. ”When I was mocked because I don’t have normal fingers, my mom taught me to say back that this is what Jesus gave me.”
Karunia has taught her family and friends about self-acceptance and true gratitude for anything that happens in life. Candra shares that her daughter has taught her to be a stronger woman of God. “She is my own flesh and blood, and we have to take care of her for as long as God gives us life, because God has a purpose for her!”
Karunia is changing her community’s mindset and standing up to bullying. She is excelling as a student and has many friends at her Compassion center. And to all who know her, she truly is a gift from God.