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“A miracle! Look, my son can walk now!”

Suraj and his friend Aakash
Suraj (right) with his best friend and classmate Aakash (left)

“Yes, it is a miracle and God’s gift, that he sent us CBR workers from the CBM supported project. Without their support our son would still be crawling, hardly able to move. Look, now he can walk. He can even go to school. I am so grateful. We are all so happy,” Lily mother of Suraj says, while happily clapping her hands.

“Suraj’s situation was indeed very problematic two years ago,” Suleman Murmu recalls. He is a community worker of the CBM project in the area. “That’s when we came to this village for the first time and visited his family. The boy used to crawl on his bottom. He was 3 years old then. He mostly sat alone on a plastic chair in a corner. He had trouble  sitting up straight. He wouldn´t interact with other children and he was excluded by children of his age“, Suleman recounts. And his mother adds: “Right after he was born we realized that Suraj had difficulties.”
“He was very slow and hardly moved. The right side of his body was completely immobile. I took him to a local doctor, a traditional healer, but that didn’t change anything. It just cost me money. And we don’t have much to live from anyway.” Her husband suddenly and unexpectedly passed away a few weeks ago.
“At least he could witness how Suraj learned walking and started going to school. He was so happy about that,” Lily says.
First Suraj was examined by a paediatrician. He was diagnosed with Hemiplegia, a type of Cerebral Palsy. “After the diagnosis we compiled a rehabilitation plan for Suraj. He regularly visited the physiotherapy department of our local rehabilitation centre – for stretching, joint moving, weight bearing. They also showed exercises to the family which they had to do with their son at home on a daily basis.”

During the same time field worker Suleman regularly visited Suraj at his home to check on him and to find out if the family was actually conducting the exercises. “In that time I learned a lot about my son’s disability and how I could support him,” Lily says. “It was not always easy. After seven months Suraj could almost stand independently. We had achieved our first success.”
It took six more months, a lot of training and discipline until Suraj could finally walk without any help. “It was unbelievable,” his mother recalls. “The neighbours, too, couldn’t believe their eyes.” Suraj walked more and more confidently over time. At the rehabilitation centre staff started to teach Suraj. He was made familiar with letters and numbers. Nowadays he goes to school all by himself. “In the beginning this was hard for him, as before that he had spent most of his time at home and with his mother, who would never leave him unattended,” community worker Suleman relates.
“I remember that I couldn’t walk and only crawl. Other children would laugh at me and no-one wanted to play with me. They called me cripple. But now I can now go to school, upright and without help. This makes me really glad. I always go together with my friend Amin. But the other children don’t laugh at me anymore. That’s great. When I’m grown up I want to become a teacher. I want to teach something to other children, the alphabet for example. That’s what we are learning at school right now,” Suraj smiles.


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