Wednesday, 23 August, 2016 – Port Moresby, National Capital District || There is no greater disability in a society than the inability to see a person as more. That is what’s given many parents of children with a disability the impetus to try and try again.
Six-year old Tally Kandia nine-year old Manu Saun are perfect outcomes of parents who have persevered to overcome the odds. Both children were diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (secondary to TB Meningitis) at a very young age and were stagnant with very little progress in the early years of their childhood.
When first met by the Cheshire disAability Services (CdS), both were found to be struggling and needed assistance with all basic activities of daily living. They were unable to sit, stand, walk or talk independently.
These little children, with the help of their parents, have overcome the odds in a space of 6 to 10 months of rehabilitation. Digicel PNG Foundation CEO Beatrice Mahuru attributes this to the sheer will of the parents and a program funded by the Foundation called the Community based Rehabilitation which is delivered by their partner, Cheshire disAbility Services.
CdS discovered Tally and Manu in their respective communities during a baseline gathering outreach and the progress each child has made with consistent therapy sessions both at their homes and the CdS centre has been remarkable.
Since Tally’s initial assessment in October 2015 and Manu’s assessment in March this year, both children have made astounding progress, now able to sit up and turn, move and walk around with partial assistance.
Tally is also now able to grasp objects independently and even keep a balance on his father’s shoulders when Digicel Foundation met him during a meet and greet event recently.
Manu’s progress has been nothing short of a miracle. She is a fast learner and her therapist has described her to be a “very bright student” now even able to calculate digits and read with little assistance.
Manu’s mother, Maria Wamala, was very emotional and expressed gratitude for all the assistance by Cheshire disAbility Services with the funding of Digicel PNG Foundation.
Maria is a teacher by profession and has unconditionally loved and assisted Manu to live a normal life as possible for a child living with a disablity.
Digicel PNG Foundation CEO, Beatrice Mahuru, said since the inception of the program in 2014 and through its implementation in NCD and Central Province by Cheshire, the Foundation has witnessed the positive and life-changing impact it has had on beneficiaries. This is what has encouraged and inspired the Foundation to continue with the financial support of K 150,000 for the program for the third year running.
The CBR Program commenced 2014 and has impacted the lives of over 900 people living with disabilities in Kokopo, Wewak, Central Province and the National Capital District.
Meanwhile, Benard Aiyeko, General Manager, Cheshire Disability services said that the focus of 2015/2016 programs implementation will be to build up on the lessons learnt under the successful NCD project, employ strategies to address the challenges which were experienced and to strengthen partnership with especially, the Government Administration at the national and local levels to sustain the outcomes and improve the lives of the beneficiaries.
“Cheshire disability Services is grateful to Digicel PNG Foundation for the continued funding of this program. Their funding enables us implement the program and pay the salaries of the field workers and physiotherapists who go out to the communities so that we can achieve our shared objectives,” said Aiyeko.
Targeted locations for the rollout of this program are Settlements, Suburbs and Indigenous Communities. They include; Morata, Wildlife, 8 mile, 9 mile, 14 mile and 17 miles. Local villages to be targeted are Kirakira, Mahuru, Pari and Hanuabada while Gerehu, Hohola, Tokarara and Burns Peak suburbs will also be covered.
To date Digicel PNG Foundation has funded 484 classrooms and 15 libraries, 23 Mobile Health Clinics, 6 rural Health Aid Posts, 3 Women’s Resource Centres, co-funded 5 Family Support Centres in partnership with UNICEF and NDoH. We have graduated 261 grassroots community based teachers in early childhood development and learning and over 15,000 men and women are now equipped with basic business skills. Over 900 people with special needs, together with their families and communities have been impacted positively by the Community Based Rehabilitation Program; and the Men of Honour Awards – a campaign against violence in PNG, is the latest to the Foundation’s development portfolio. So far, we have 10 winners, 30 finalists and 162 nominations. Digicel PNG Foundation appreciates that change is not going to happen overnight, but it will happen.
Established in October 2008, Digicel PNG Foundation has directly invested K65 million in PNG’s rural, remote and socially marginalized communities across all 22 provinces directly impacting over 500,000 people.