International Roofbreakers in Kerala, India, 2024

International Roofbreakers in Kerala, India, 2024


Our first International Roofbreaker mission trip to Kerala, India, in January 2024 had a profound impact. It touched the lives of at least 135 disabled people and family members. The trip also addressed the hearts and minds of over 200 local Christian leaders, teachers and students, giving them a more Biblical view of disability inclusion.

We were told that very often in India, disabled people are separated from the rest of society, and sadly most churches do not include any disabled people at all. The Kerala International Roofbreaker mission made an immediate difference to this situation.

A group of six team members from the UK visited Kerala and joined with local Christians from our partner organisation, Sathyam Ministries. The volunteers shared about the Biblical basis for valuing and including disabled people, and how this can be done in practice. The message was strengthened by the fact that the Roofbreaker team included UK volunteers who are disabled themselves. Many pastors from Kerala pledged to change things in their churches and to reach out to local disabled people.

International Roofbreakers missions provide pastoral support for the local disabled people who received wheelchairs and mobility aids the year before, in our Wheels for the World mission. 

God has given us a vision for International Roofbreaker events to train and encourage local churches in developing countries to support and value disabled people in their communities. To do this, we invite local Christians to become International Roofbreakers, or disability champions, who break down barriers to full inclusion in church and Christian life.

In the blog posts below, Anne, a UK Roofbreaker, shares her experiences from the Kerala trip, and the many ways it encouraged local disabled people and educated the community.

Arrival in Kerala

"On the first day, we were invited by our host, Dr. CV, to a get-together, known as ‘Ability Meet.’ As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by a sea of smiling faces. A terrific welcome: everyone seemed pleased to see us and we were presented with flowers.

A smiling, older Indian man in a blue checked shirtWe were able to speak, through an interpreter, sharing a little about Through the Roof, and also to meet and chat with people. Some of those we met had been given wheelchairs from Through the Roof previously. A lovely man, with a terrific smile, disabled as the result of an accident, commented on how the gift of a wheelchair enabled his independence. He is also reading his Bible.

One particularly amazing granddad had enough English to tell me his granddaughter has an extra chromosome-18, a condition also known as Edward’s syndrome.

This granddad has a terrific faith. The doctors predicted that his granddaughter would only live for two years, but she is eight years old, and she is starting to talk and make progress. He gives God the glory.

He said ‘medical science can fail, but God doesn't fail – my granddaughter is alive because Jesus is alive’. He said she worships with them. He takes her everywhere, as a witness to the faith. This man and others were a real blessing to us."

Another packed but rewarding day 

"Today we visited local people at home. All the families had a member who is a wheelchair user.

The first lady we saw is called Pennamma, she is 97 years of age. Martyn, our team leader remembers her from when she received her wheelchair from us on the Kerala Wheels for the World trip. Pennamma was using the wheelchair when we saw her. She spoke about having reached the age of 97 and being happy for God to call her home. Her favourite Bible passage is Psalm 23. The Lord is indeed our Shepherd and He has guided Pennamma through 97 years!

In the next home we visited, the family have a small boy called Aardhil. He was making good use of the wheelchair we previously gave him. The family said that the wheelchair acts as a ‘pacifier’, calming him when he is stressed. It also enables his brother, and the rest of the family, to take him for a walk in the local area.Photo of a small boy from India, aged about 7, sleeping in his wheelchair. He is wearing a pink Winnie the Pooh T shirt and khaki trousers. His feet are bent, so they curl in heavily, rather than going out in front of him.

This little boy, Aardhil, has no sight. He had a cornea transplant operation recently, but this was not successful, and the family have asked for prayer. He has hearing and was able to respond to us by waving. He likes music and listens to Christian worship songs.

The main thing that has struck me, throughout the trip so far, is the level of care and support shown to each individual person by their families. It is very humbling. We hope to inspire the local community to offer support as well, so everyone can belong and play their part in life."

Inspiration from the young and old 

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝘄𝗼 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝘆𝗮𝗺𝗮𝘀

“Yesterday morning we met two elderly ladies, both named Maryama! They also both have a strong Christian faith. The simple faith of the people we have met has really touched us.
The first Maryama has a favourite Scripture passage: Psalm 91. She can't see to read, but the Bible passages are written in her mind and on her heart.

Eighteen years ago, this lady nearly died. The doctors told her to prepare for her death (literally they told her to buy a coffin). She had faith in God though, that it wasn't her time.
She didn't die and her daughter-in law, who cares for her, heard a voice from heaven saying 'You've got your Mother back, now care for her’, and she does.

The second Maryama has been bed-ridden for two months, due to diabetes. Sadly, she can't really use her wheelchair now, and finds it hard to praise God; I believe she still praises God, in her heart. One of our team sang a praise song to her – with actions! It lifted her spirits."

𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗛𝗼𝗽𝗲 𝗼𝗿𝗽𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗲

"In the afternoon, we visited the children's wards of an orphanage. It had beautiful gardens outside. We were all touched by the level of care given to these children by the nuns who run it. Many of the children have severe disabilities. Several children had received wheelchairs from Wheels for the World – many with decorations on. The wheelchairs had totally transformed their lives. They can sit up and look around for the first time.

The children were full of smiles. Several of the children sang for us. One blind girl had a little English. Another girl could point to India on a map and correctly identify an eagle in a book.
Tragically, these children are mainly unwanted by their parents. They were all friends, and they held hands. The orphanage touched the hearts of all of us." We pray the children will be blessed."

Local church leaders catch the vision

“Yesterday we met a group of pastors, church leaders and Sunday school teachers. Around 50 people attended the conference which was held in the same hall as before.
The meeting opened in prayer. We were then given a rendition by young people from Justin’s Home, the local education centre for people with additional needs.
A group of about 50 Indian people, mostly male, some female (with head scarves) sat in rows of chairs, listening to a man speaking at the front of a large hall, with a wooden sign behind that says 'The Upper Room'. Next to the man speaking is a lady from the UK in a wheelchair, wearing a pink dress, who is getting ready to address the group.Our UK team leader Janet spoke, from John's gospel, explaining that disability is not a curse or a punishment from God for the individual’s sin or the sin of the parents. This is a common misconception here and may lead to disabled people being shunned within society. Martyn spoke on being adopted in God's family and Abigail sang and gave a word of testimony.
We had a time of group discussion, where we asked the audience to think about why people with disabilities are not valued within their communities. We received a good response. We discovered that some churches do have things already in place to include disabled people.
Today we are going to respond to the feedback from yesterday. Jewels, a disabled UK volunteer who is a wheelchair user, will give her testimony. We will finish by asking the question ‘What one thing can you do, in addition to what you already may do, so that disabled people feel valued in your church’. We pray that many churches will be inspired to do more for disabled people in their communities."

‘We need to be like Jesus’

"This is our final blog, reflecting on our last day of Roofbreaker events, before our team day out to close the trip (to see more of Kerala with an enjoyable trip to the elephant sanctuary).

Yesterday, we were speaking again, to pastors, church leaders and Sunday school teachers. The meeting opened in prayer. Students from Justin's Home performed music for us again, singing and playing musical instruments. The meeting then began, as we discussed feedback from the previous day, and gave a response to some of people's questions. We read from the Bible: the ‘Good Samaritan’ and the ‘Sheep and the goats’.

Next, Jewels gave her testimony, explaining her lived experience as a disabled Christian. Afterwards, Abigail interviewed two local disabled Christians about their stories. They both enjoyed church, listening to testimonies, and praising God. Justin, Dr CV’s son, thanked God for his parents and siblings. Martyn spoke on ‘Glorifying God' and Janet talked more about what it means to be a Roofbreaker.

Finally, we asked a question: ‘After what you have heard over the past two days, what one thing will you implement, in order to show you include and value disabled people?'

People responded very well to the whole event. They commented that they particularly enjoyed Jewels’ testimony. One man mentioned that he had never thought about people with disabilities before, now he will. Several leaders said they are going to implement changes.

One very special attendee stood up at the end and gave a word of testimony. He has a hidden disability. The whole message, from us and our Indian brothers and sisters can be summed up in the words ‘We need to be like Jesus’."

Your support means so much

If you would like to get involved with International Roofbreaker missions through prayer or volunteering, visit our International Get Involved page. If you're interested in joining a trip (volunteers need to raise funds for their own costs and air fare) visit our Planned trips page or email

Please consider donating funds to this Gospel-centred work: your support means so much to us and to the disabled communities in the developing countries we reach.