It was a hot day today and I was reluctant to go for a field visit. But work has to go on and a meeting was to be facilitated in one of our villages. We reached and waited only to find out that people who had agreed to come yesterday were now caught up in some other work and the meeting was cancelled. I was annoyed and decided to go back when Mr. Sanjay (our staff) suggested that we meet some children and follow up on their status.
Since we had put substantial effort into the children in this village, I was hoping to receive some good feedback. We visited Dasrath, who is 3 years old and has Cerebral Palsy. I was hoping to see him in a better position but we met him in the same state as a lot of children with disabilities, neglected, alone and on his bed.
Children with CP are usually required to have different positions which benefit their posture and various other things but since there is no one at home to take care of him when his parents go to work, he spends the entire day lying down, unable to interact with anybody. His parents are generally supportive people but since progress is very slow, they tend to give up and the other obligations are prioritised. This added to our frustrations but we stopped to talk to his siblings and his uncle and explained the benefits of making him sit and teaching him to interact.
As we planned to leave with our frustrations, Mr. Sanjay decided that it was not enough if we just visited over and over again and explained the child’s condition and he wanted to go further.
Please follow the photographs to see what happened.
The problem was that he had to made to sit, the usual solutions are fancy items like CP chair or corner chair which are non-available locally and even if available, unaffordable. A small idea by our staff and half an hour of our time changed the way Dasrath looks at things now. The family has promised to make other modifications as well.
When we work with communities and work towards empowerment, we focus so much on “Helping them to help themselves”. We talk and explain and then expect them to act and get frustrated when change does not happen the way we expect. We sometimes miss the umpteen opportunities to initiate change a different way Sometimes, action has to be initiated from our side as well, a nudge; a little hand-holding can go a long way. It does not have to be resource intensive, simple gestures and initiatives can make a world of difference.
As I left their house, I left my frustrations behind and carried with me the image of his smile.
Happy Reading, God Bless
(Consent was taken from his parents)