17 Dec 2011

Dagem...The Richness of Abugida

The disabled who live in poor countries count for very little and yet there are so many of them.  The poor have a much greater chance to suffer disability as mothers rarely receive appropriate prenatal care or suffer difficult births without help, or for other reasons such as malnutrition, poliomyelitis or accidents.  It’s difficult enough to live in a poor country but very much more so if you have a disability.

Cerebral paralysis is common in Ethiopia due to lack of prenatal care and infections.  As if the disability alone is not enough and due to the general lack of education, this disability carries the stigma that people believe it is a sign of bad luck, that it is the hand of god acting against the family.

Through Dagem we are managing to break these taboos, he is accepted at the school and has enriched the lives of those in the nursery and the whole school.  In these photos you can see him meeting Laura again, our wonderful Occupational Therapist volunteer who facilitated Dagem’s incorporation into the school by teaching Nuria, his daily Ethiopia care, and his mother how to care for him.  Dagem recognised her, lifting his head and giving her a big smile.

In the last photo we see Jonas, the little boy with the eternal smile, who suffers from the same condition but in a much milder form.  Laura is applying a thermoplastic support to his hand.  

Hopefully, as we continue to fight the taboos, we’ll see more such children in Abugida in the future.

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