Havine* is 18 years old and has been living in a Yazidi internally displaced peoples camp since ISIS came to her village in the Sinjar region in 2014. When Operation Mercy workers first met her over a year ago, she never smiled, had no friends and had no hope in life. She would not leave her home because of her physical disability of severe bilateral clubfoot. Both feet were at a 90-degree angle pointed inwardly since birth.
Despite spending all her time at home, her relationship with her family was strained. In January 2019, she underwent corrective surgery with one of our partner NGOs and had an amazing outcome of one straightened foot. Operation Mercy workers helped care for her in the hospital and back at home with both nursing care and physical therapy.
She then had surgery on her left foot in October 2019, with her cast removal a few months later. Unfortunately, from 2019 until early 2020, she did not have much motivation to do exercises, and her physical improvement progressed slowly due to her depression and anxiety. Sometimes she would even faint from the fear of trying to stand.
Our local team spent weeks encouraging her, reminding her of her incredible value and worth, no matter what her feet looked like. They also encouraged her to continue her exercises. The result has been drastic. Havine has accomplished her goals like walking without any assistance and sitting with her legs crossed on the floor in order to eat and participate in social visits with her family and friends. Now she has two straight feet and has relearnt how to walk!
Today Havine smiles, laughs and has started loving herself. She has friends and leaves her house to hang out with
them. Her relationship with her family has also improved. She has joined one of our peer groups of young women her age with similar physical disabilities. She previously had not wanted to participate in a group but now says she looks forward to it.
We have seen her transform from a shy and insecure girl to a vibrant, young woman who is an active participant in her community.
A gentleman from the Ministry of Health approaches the podium at the 1st National CBR Conference in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Six years ago we had a “friendship building experience,” in the form of a major argument over priorities for children with disabilities and where they live.
“I love speaking to new mothers that come in for the first time and giving them advice and counselling them. I love seeing the change that this brings into a family.”
We believe engaging with the local community is essential to doing effective development work. By working with leaders and citizens, we can positively affect attitudes towards children with disabilities and encourage a sustainable integration of our projects into the community.
A doctor, nurse, physical therapist, speech therapist and a special needs teacher, all on one dream team.
The wheelchair has not only contributed to Amir’s improvement physically, but emotionally and psychologically as well.
Eventually several relatives visited and noticed that Mustafa had greatly improved. They wanted to pass out sweets to their friends and neighbors to celebrate.
Corner chairs and walking frames are essential tools for the rehabilitation of children with disabilities and for increasing their quality of life. The training was aimed specifically at how to make these assistive devices.
Members of our team in Kazakhstan, in partnership with others in Almaty, have been using their occupational therapy and caring skills with people with disabilities.
It is easy to think about development work only in terms of improving physical aspects of a community like economics or health. However, transformational development also means coming along-side the poor to help them spiritually and socially.
This four-year-old’s name literally means “Lovely Soul.” When she grins, you can see that it’s a good fit.
During the distribution, it was evident that many people have been out of work while some also reported being in debt primarily due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Julia has new energy now in her especially important work!
Her confidence has grown immensely, and with this growth, she has begun to teach and train other mothers in a way that contributes to making Operation Mercy’s work in Isfara truly sustainable.
“The joy and the friendship of these two boys, one having a disability and the other not, is one small step… that can hopefully start a giant leap in the direction of building an inclusive community.”
Amina has grown in her capacity to advocate for children with disabilities, to encourage other mothers, and now has grown in confidence to share her knowledge and experience with the social assistance workers too.
Alisher is a boy with autism, who struggles to interact well with his world, struggles with behaviour and attention and is not able to speak.
One of the most difficult parts of doing therapy in a community setting is quickly finding the one or two things that you can teach the caregiver or finding one adjustment you can make to improve the child with a disability’s quality of life.
Samuel* entered the world with cerebral palsy. When he was about 12 years old, his family sent him to stay at the state institution for children with disabilities.
Gulnoza truly brings sustained hope to the people she meets with. By caring for struggling individuals in this society, she is helping bring about the heart change that leads to life transformation.
Havine* is 18 years old and has been living in a Yazidi internally displaced peoples camp since ISIS came to her village in the Sinjar region in 2014.