Rev Dr Micheline Kamba has devoted her adult life to challenging misconceptions about disability and encouraging churches to be more inclusive. Here she shares some of her personal story.
Please can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I had polio when I was two years old which left my legs paralysed, so I need crutches and callipers to move around. I am married and I have a son who is 17.
What was it like growing up with a disability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)?
My parents and family were great. They included me in everything and I went to school the same as my sisters and brothers.
But when I became a teenager, I found it difficult. In DRC many people believe that if you have a disability, it is because of a curse. It was difficult for me to protect myself from this thinking. I was also told that I would not be able to get married or have children. At one point I tried to commit suicide.
My sister helped to show me that I am God’s creation and am loved by him. In Isaiah 49:15 God asks Israel, ‘Can a mother forget her baby?’ I realised this is impossible. In the same way, God cannot forget me. Understanding this was my liberation.
Since that time I have never asked God to heal me physically, because I know that God’s grace is sufficient for me, and his strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). I have accepted myself as a woman with a disability and I know that God has good plans for me.