From Wheels to Walking
Agriculture is the backbone of Nepalese economy, with an estimated 80% of the workforce engaged in subsistence farming. For poor families like Gita’s, from Ramechhap District in eastern Nepal, parents must leave young children at home while they work long hours in the fields. The homes are rustic, with an open fire “chulo” (mud stove) in a corner of the kitchen. When Gita was 11 months old, she accidentally fell into the fire, severely burning both legs, eventually having to have them amputated. Post-burn contracture is the fifth most-common disorder we treat.
On her lucky days, one of her five brothers would carry Gita to school. More often, she just stayed home, shuffling around on a handmade three-wheeler skateboard. Her world was only as wide as this vehicle could take her—until we found her during one of our mobile medical camps.
At the HRDC hospital in Banepa she underwent several surgeries to prepare her legs for prostheses. Our very own workshop in the hospital complex made her new legs and she started to walk for the first time in her life! HRDC’s workshop has manufactured over 78,000 orthosis and prostheses since 1985. These low-cost artificial limbs and appliances have changed the lives of thousands of children. Enabling them to stand restores their confidence, gives them dignity, and brings hope and happiness to the entire family. Now Gita walks to school herself, on her new legs, alongside her five brothers, two sisters, and many new friends – her skateboard a distant memory of a life transformed by HRDC!