To marginalize means to relegate to a lower or outer edge, of specific groups of people. Marginalized people in society are people who are considered as outcasts in the society, they are referred to as those of a lower class. Those who are marginalized are outside the dominant culture of a group. The group could be a professional group, a social group, or a whole society.
An individual may be marginalized because the dominant culture is unable to live with a particular group or individual. In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), it is obvious that prioritizing the powerless is a form of love for neighbors. Luke’s gospel entails a writing style that is aimed at giving hope to the non Jews or Gentiles and those disregarded in society to depict to them that Jesus also came to save them, he aims to break the strongholds of disregard for the marginalized in society.
At the time, the Jews marginalized the poor, women, orphans and the diseased. In Luke 7:11-17, we clearly see Jesus showing love and compassion to a widow (Nain), depicting utmost concern and love for women, as the men at the time had a daily prayer “thanking God that they were not born women”. Luke’s gospel brings out Jesus as a voice for the marginalized by uplifting and showing their importance to his Kingdom, like the account of Mary with Angel Gabriel, as well as condemning the actions of the rich. In our communities today, we see the same marginalization being depicted among various disadvantaged groups some of which may include The Poor are greatly marginalized due to their inability to afford what others can.
Uganda has a high poverty rate where 90% of the country’s poor live in Rural areas, Many children are left roaming the city streets due to lack of funds for their education, many Karamajong women travel to become beggars’ on the Kampala streets which also act as their homesteads in the cold biting nights, many girls also resort to prostitution to get a living and are seen as grave sinners and because of these adverse factors, the poor are disregarded by many people and ignored due to their uncontrollable circumstance Women are also greatly marginalized despite their higher percentage of 51% in the Ugandan community.
Women are seen as a weaker or less important sex to men. This is clearly depicted in the working sector, where very few women are able to take up white collar employment opportunities which are mainly taken up by men. This stretches back to the educational opportunity given to women whereby many girls are taken away from school early, and other don’t even get to start school which is mostly evident in the rural areas since women are seen as tools for house work, producing children and taking of gardens, widowed women are also taken advantage of when their husbands pass on and relatives take the remaining property.
These in turn limits their chances for a bright future and therefore, even in the Bible in Luke 7:37-43, we see the disregard for women by Simon, one of Jesus’ disciples which has stretched till this present. The sick have also been marginalized for example, people living with HIV, cancer, diabetes and other diseases are segregated from society since people don’t want to associate with them to risk infection and therefore, some people are chased from schools, work places since they don’t want to associate with them. Sick people are seen as less special and are kept out of conversations, meetings and other social gatherings yet Jesus regards everyone as special before his sight (Luke 12:6-8) Some children are dumped in bins and latrines due to the disabilities which is extremely gruesome.
Regardless of this marginalization, God still creates a solution, a way out for his people to get refuge. The very same compassion that Jesus had for the poor and disadvantaged has been placed in the hearts of my people in community who come up with solutions and means of helping the marginalized Many Organizations have been put in place to help those in need with the basic health care needs like The World Food Programme (W.F.O), Red Cross, Relief Aid and many others and this has helped to establish families that have gone through crisis like the Bududa landslides, the famine outbreaks in Karamoja and this shows that regardless of the situations the poor go through, God still makes a way for them.
The government has started programmes to help facilitate the poor for example the NAADS programme as well as the Youth Loan schemes and this has helped to build up innovativeness and revenue for the poor since they are able to get loans from which they can start up business activities and be able to sustain themselves Charity Organization like Samaritan Purse, Smile Like a Child, Invisible Children, Mission Moving Mountains and many others in different communities have been able to provide homes for street children as well food and an education and therefore, the number of street children has greatly reduced and the number of those who lack is gradually reducing.
The government has introduced Universal Education which is cheap and affordable for the poor as well which has enabled girls and women to access educational facilities and not stay idle at home, this is in line with the law for all children to go to school which is stipulated as a law in the Uganda Constitution. Sponsorships and Incentives for women have been put in place to enable women to get a fair chance at competing with the vast number men in the work field for example the 1.5 point grade added to girls at University admission as well as the Sponsorships from organizations like Compassion International that can facilitate ones education fees from Primary to University level and this has helped increase the number of female graduates and employees.
Zacchaeus in the Bible also gave to the poor half of what he owed (Luke 19:7-9) and we should follow this example Sensitization programmes about the HIV/AIDS, Cancer diseases has been put in place whereby companies like T.A.S.O, and other health organizations have been able to inform people about the stigma issues related with these diseases and provide information about them that enables people to know the truth and stop marginalization for example, the Health awareness week in Uganda Christian University by Allan Galpin Health Center Extension of health services with trained health care workers and health units to provide outreach health facilities to under-served communities.
Establishment of authorized clinics and pharmacies recognized by the ministry of health helps to provide good health facilities at a lower cost, for example the free Health Care weeks by various Companies and Hospitals like Mulago Hospital, free ARV’s to HIV/AIDS patients by companies like Midmay International and TASO.
Therefore, it’s important for us to promote a change in our community and care for those in need, knowing that we are all special before God and w have to treat each other the way Jesus cared for the marginalized when He spent his 33 years on earth as a man like we are. Taking the story of Lazarus, the poor man and the Rich man (Luke 16:19-26), that if we are rich, let’s give to those who are less fortunate and not segregate them instead.
Good News Bible, The Gideons International
Understanding the New Testament, 2011 edition
Baulcombe, S. Hostick, T. New, A. Pugh, H. (1998) ‘Asking the Experts: A Guide to Involving People in Shaping Health and Social Care Services’. The Community Care Needs Assessment Project (CCNAP) (available to download from www.ccnap.org.uk)
Baxter, L. Thorne, L. Mitchell, A. (2001) ‘Small Voices, Big Noises: Lay involvement in health research: lessons from other fields’ Folk.us, Consumers in NHS Research, Exeter, Washington Singer Press