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The AfriKids Blog

Emmanuel’s first steps and World Cerebral Palsy Day


This Friday marks World Cerebral Palsy Day celebrated in over 60 countries across the world. A day to raise awareness of this condition - affecting 17 million people globally - to connect organisations supporting people living with Cerebral Palsy and a chance to motivate social change and education campaigns.

AfriKids are a proud member of the movement to improve the lives of children living with cerebral palsy as well as their families and communities. Led by one of our local heroes, Joe, AfriKids has spent over ten years educating communities to end traditional beliefs and fears that put children living with disabilities at risk. Having successfully stopped the neglect and even killing of children with disabilities, (who were previously feared as curses), Joe and his team are now working to support families and improve life for children living with cerebral palsy. 

Transforming lives

Ten years ago, Joe and the team decided to convert AfriKids Child Rights Centre in Sirigu into the first ever physiotherapy facility for children living with cerebral palsy. The facility, among other things, provided physiotherapy training for children suffering from the condition and a support group for their families.

Emmanuel takes his first steps

Emmanuel has now been receiving physiotherapy support in Sirigu for a few years, to help make him more comfortable and to build his strength and flexibility so that he  can move  with more control and ease. We couldn't be prouder to see the improvement he’s made! Watch this video to see for yourself.

The next stage

Good news travels fast and stories of children like Emmanuel have drawn the attention of other communities. High numbers of children living with cerebral palsy in the village of Feo, called for the creation of a second facility to bring this life-changing support to more families.

The available space at the Feo centre, however, was not adequate to accommodate the high numbers of children needing the service; particularly due to the numerous referrals from other health facilities such the local Regional Hospital. Staff and even the local traditional leader in Feo, appealed to AfriKids for further support and fundraising began for the construction of an additional multipurpose building that would serve as a physiotherapy training hub for the community.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our supporters, this World Cerebral Palsy Day will mark the opening of this much-needed new centre and the start of many more journeys like Emmanuel's.

Over the next three years, AfriKids has ambitious plans to open a further four centres to reach more children and families.

 

AfriKids on the radio

Earlier this week, AfriKids staff, Matthew and Ray, and local midwife, Freda, talked to URA Radio about the need for AfriKids' support and how they’re working together to transform the lives of children living with Cerebral Palsy.

Ray: ‘Particularly in our part of the world, where access to healthcare is an issue and the availability of midwives at the community level is an issue, we have a lot of delayed labor and complications with labor, so these are all the conditions that make it rife for Cerebral Palsy to set in.’

  Freda: ‘Most of these children they cannot walk … [and] we have the mentality that they are spirit-beings and if we don’t do away with them, they will do away with us. So the love for these children is not always there.’

Matthew: ‘As an NGO and a network of NGOs that are working in this area, especially with our partner the Health Services, we want to achieve that children with cerebral palsy are able to access their rights [and] they have access to opportunities.’ 

  Ray: ‘They need specialization in the area of their condition. When they go to hospital they need physiotherapists who understand their condition ... and are skilled to manage their condition.’

 ‘If you look at the entire Upper East [Region], until somewhere in 2007/2008 when we started the first cerebral palsy training facility at the Child Rights Centre in Sirigu, there has never been any such facility in the region.’


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