In our Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) project, Operation Mercy (OPM) staff members visit people with physical disabilities and their families in six different refugee and IDP camps. We listen to their concerns, help them with physical therapy and access to health care, and bring them together in groups in order to build networks of support within their communities.
Mayna lives in a Yezidi camp and due to an injury at birth, she was diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy. This injury affects the nerve that activates her shoulder and arm muscles, which in turn prevents her from being able to write or draw with her right hand. Over time, this can be helped with exercises as the exercises retrain and strengthen the muscles that have usually atrophied from disuse. We began these exercises with her, which were initially difficult, but she was persevering and did not want to quit. Her parents also offer her daily support and encouragement, which is a key to any recovery.
After a year of working with her, she is now able to feed herself, shower independently and help with cleaning around the house! When we first started working with her, she was not able to use her right arm at all and now she uses both arms simultaneously. Her mom comments each week about what new activity Mayna can now do that she was unable to do before. Her life has completely changed for the better and she has hope and confidence for her future. Mayna’s mother has asked that we continue to follow-up with her daughter weekly because of the great benefit from physical therapy and the encouraging progress she has seen in her daughter. By helping Mayna, we are also assisting her community and giving them hope that change can also happen in their own lives. Mayna is showing those around her that being diligent, and persevering can have lasting and life-changing benefits.
For each client goals are set that range from physical goals to the ability of doing daily activities and learning certain skills that enhance their opportunities to be part of their family and community. The CBR team also keeps monitoring whether a client needs new or additional assistive devices. To increase physical and emotional growth, OPM encourages clients to join a peer group with a family member.