In Nepal, disability is often viewed as a punishment for sins committed in a past life. Afflicted children and their families tend to be ostracized, so that disability and shame compound into a double burden. Many disabled children are kept away from prying eyes, isolated at home. Every year, we carry out more than 175 mobile medical camps into the most remote areas of Nepal, searching them out. Our goal is to treat all those we find, giving them the chance to lead full, productive lives.
Siblings Ashim and Anuragi were both born with clubfeet into a poor family in rural west Nepal. Their parents are farmers earning less than $2 per day. Without any ability to pay for treatment, the family lived under the cloud of a curse for years. “I felt sad,” Ashim says. “So much sadness,” adds his sister. Our Community Based Rehabilitation team heard of the family and encouraged them to attend one of our mobile medical camps.
For six months, both children underwent treatment at our hospital in Banepa, accompanied by their mother. Circular frames were used to pull their feet back into normal positions. While attending the HRDC school in the hospital compound, the kids gained their first glimpse of a life of acceptance and made many friends. Their mother commented, “HRDC is not only like a hospital, it is like a family with loving staff and patients. I also realized there are lots of children who have more complex disabilities.”
Today, both Ashim and Anuragi walk without assistance. They’re able to wear shoes and have joined the school in their village. They both dream of becoming successful – as a nurse and a teacher. For their mother, the biggest gift of all is that her children are no longer considered cursed.