Twelve Weeks of Christmas – Week 6

Welcome to the sixth week of our 12 Weeks of Christmas stories. If you want to make a difference to people’s lives in Malawi, why don’t you buy a Christmas gift from our Christmas Gift Catalogue.

A gift of £39 could pay for weekly therapy for a whole year for someone living with Cerebral Palsy just like Soljana

This is Soljana, he is 10 years old and has Cerebral Palsy. In Africa, there are many children with this condition.

In Malawi, if there are no Government services offering therapy for children with cerebral palsy in rural areas, their families may feel helpless and that there is no hope for their children.

Many people with movement restrictions are physically unable to leave their homes, many having spent their entire lives in isolation within the four walls of their home. Children are unable to attend school simply because they can’t physically get there.

Through our Disability and Rehabilitation project we work to improve the lives of children like Soljana and the quality of life of their carer, to enable that person to live as independently and as happily as possible within their local community.

RIPPLE Africa’s Collins Chanika, Senior Healthcare Co-ordinator, identifies patients who could be considered for the project, conducts regular home visits to provide clinical rehabilitation, identifies candidates for mobility equipment and arrange for the order/delivery/use of such equipment, organises community support groups for carers and patients, and makes referrals to relevant partnership bodies and hospitals where applicable.

Collins is an amazing man and is well respected throughout the Nkhata Bay District and really does change lives forever. If children like Soljana have movement therapy from very early in their lives they can be helped to hold themselves upright and move purposefully but if they do not they can become stiff and immobile and it is difficult for them to lead happy, independent and fulfilling lives.

Parents often feel ashamed that their children cannot move around normally and they may keep them indoors where they have little chance of learning to sit up and move around. This puts them in great danger of developing the secondary problem of shortened muscles and deformed bones and then it will be even more difficult to help them. Their families will have to devote a good deal of their time to taking care for them.

So in addition to this clinical care at household level, the project also encompasses an awareness campaign to tackle the social stigma and misunderstandings surrounding disabilities in the community. This campaign is the first of its kind in our area, Collins conducts regular talks about disabilities to local primary schools, secondary schools, church groups, and local health clubs within the area.

Every person with a disability deserves an equal chance at a better life! RIPPLE Africa’s Disability and Rehabilitation Project provides that – and brings hope and happiness to people who may otherwise have given up.

On behalf of Soljana and other disabled children, a big Thank You for reading more about our Healthcare project.

Tawonga Ukongwa!

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