Many a time we undermine the effect of certain devices in our lives. In today’s world one common effective tool of everyday life is the mobile phone. Some people are very dependent on their mobile phones for business and life.
In the world of disabilities, I will say a wheelchair for one child can do all the magic; fix the broken home; get all children into school; the mother goes back to work. No matter how bad the child’s condition is, it can take a wheelchair to reduce the stigma on the family. Yes! One wheelchair can turn a whole family’s life around.
Here is how
Parents with children who have conditions that make it impossible to walk typically carry them on their back for long distance mobility. When the child has Cerebral Palsy it makes it even more difficult to take them anywhere. If they try to put such a child in school, some schools would not want to admit them because they become burdened by the child’s needs. Some mothers would have to stay home and dedicate their lives to taking care of their disabled children. Most of the time, the fathers are not in the picture, and the mother has more than one child. How can she provide for herself and her children when she has no job or she is unable to work as much as she needs to take care of the home?
Although wheelchair access in Ghana is a big challenge, a wheelchair for some people is everything. Wheelchair should be the last resort for people with diseases, injuries and infections that make it impossible to walk, but when all avenues fail, it is always hope for mobility and independence.
Benjey is a 19 month old baby who was born with spina bifida and two other conditions. After birth his mother run away and left him in the hospital. Benjey spent his first 8 months in the hospital, during the same period, the surgery to correct the spinal defect.
When Benjey came to OTC, he was always on people’s arms because of his condition and size. He used to cry a lot. Even at the age of one year, he looked like a 4 month old baby. Physical therapists worked but until he had a wheelchair, we did not see most of the results.
Now he can sit independently in his wheelchair giving his caregiver and other people who used to carry him time to do other things. His neck control had gotten better he is more sociable and he cries less than before. I can say, now he is a boy thanks to his wheelchair; he has been detached from people’s arms. While he still have his defects and complications, he is still growing pretty much socially. Also, his sitting posture is getting better.
Ohenewaa is a 4 year old girl with cerebral palsy. She is from a family of five. She weighs about twice the average weight of a 4 year old. Due to her condition, her mother has to stay home and care for her. Also, sometimes when she has to come to OTC for review, Ohenewaa’s mother brings her older sister to help carry Ohenewaa when she the mother have waist and back pains. Late last year, Ohenewaa was given a wheelchair and a shower seat. He mother was so happy. Her exact words were, “I cannot believe I will not have to carry my girl anymore, sometimes she gets tired because we are unable to manage her well. Her weight is too much!” She says she will soon send Ohenewaa to school and start work in the coming academic year.
Since the only way the families of these children can get them to our centre is by carrying them on their backs, this causes pain or more pain to the children, which makes them irritable and hence making them cry a lot due to the discomfort caused by such way of handling like in Benjey’s case. Apart from the discomfort these children go through due to lack of this essential mobility aid, it puts the mothers who carry them on their backs at risks of developing health issues such as back and waist pain which can be disabling in the long term just like in Ohenewaa’s case.
There are many children with different conditions who will also benefit immensely from having wheelchairs tailored to their specific needs, others who do not have certain complications will also benefit from standard wheelchairs.
We cannot achieve this without your help and support through your generosity. Children dare to dream and have the opportunity to access education; mothers get their lives back, families are liberated from the pain and incarceration of such conditions.
A wheelchair will help to give independence, conserve the energies and simplify the mobility tasks which takes a tow on families of these disabled children.
An appeal to all who are reading, every monetary contribution and or wheelchair donation will go a long way to help us change the lives of these families for good, I repeat One Wheelchair Can Do All The Magic!
To all our donors, we say a big thank you for your support.
Please donate all you can to help OTC.