There are 93 million children with disabilities around the world, many of whom do not have access to education or support services. This statistic may seem daunting, but for Linda Martin, President and Founder of Miracle 139 International, she saw it as a calling to do something bigger. Linda shares, “I believe that all children are beautifully and marvelously made by God. Everyone learns differently, and once we can empower educators to see and teach to each individual’s unique potential, we can change the course of that child’s life.”
Founded in 2016, Miracle 139 International’s mission is to improve the lives of children with special needs by bringing awareness, training, and support to developing countries. Miracle 139 International began to take shape in 2009, when Linda Martin took her first trip to Peru. She witnessed the immense gap in support and services that special needs children were receiving and saw the impact that her vision could have on this community. “In many countries, children with special needs are still not included in schools. There is limited awareness of their value and potential. It is heartbreaking, but I knew we could make a difference,” Lisa stated.
Since its inception, Miracle 139 International has provided extensive trainings in Peru, Paraguay, and China. Using evidence-based strategies, the organization relies on a ‘train the trainer’ approach with multiple phases to ensure sustainability and empower local leaders to become experts.
The work of Miracle 139 International is made possible by a small dedicated staff, and an exceptional team of volunteers. These volunteer trainers are the lifeblood of the organization. In 2020, the organization hired their first Executive Director, Falon Leszczynski, to help get them grow their impact. Falon shared with GB Magazine, “I am honored to be leading an organization whose mission has such a beautiful impact on so many.” Falon, who is the mother of four daughters, shared, “Though I am blessed with healthy children, it is hard to imagine that in other countries, they may not be provided an education simply because they have unique learning abilities. It takes organizations like Miracle 139 International to bring the resources and trainings that are needed because all children deserve an education.”
In many developing countries, only 13% of children with special needs receive a formal education. Miracle 139 International is on a mission to change that so that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Growing the organization during a pandemic has been challenging, but it is one Miracle 139 International is embracing. Parents are finding themselves in the educator role, and amidst all the change, children with unique learning needs are facing even more challenges without access to their regular interventions, accommodations, therapies and structured routines.
To help others in these challenging times, Miracle 139 International is offering a free 4-part virtual training series that is open to anyone, with interpretation provided in multiple languages. The virtual trainings will begin in September 2020, and topics will include reinforcement strategies, positive behavior management and active learning strategies.
As Miracle 139 does not charge for its services or training, it does need your generosity to continue to provide these life-changing services to the special needs children around the globe that it need it the most. For more information regarding Miracle 139 International, the work it does, its video library of teaching tips, and ways to support please visit www.miracle139international.org.