The vast majority (around 80%) of disabled children helped by Navajeevana have cerebral palsy. The high prevalence of this condition in Sri Lanka is not fully understood, but is likely to be caused by under or over-age pregnancies and poor health services for women during pregnancy.
Navajeevana has found that, as well as practical tools like custom-made seating for children with disability, there is a real need to educate and inform their parents about how to care for children with cerebral palsy. After the initial diagnosis, parents are often left to cope on their own, without advice or support.
This means that children with cerebral palsy in rural Sri Lanka often have a poor quality of life, spending most of their time lying in bed or in their mother’s arms. Many parents simply can’t cope and find their child’s disability alienating and upsetting.
For this reason we were very pleased to award a grant to Navajeevana of £1800 to run workshops for the parents of children with cerebral palsy. These workshops, which took place at Navajeevana’s holistic rehabilitation centre in Tangalla, focused on giving parents advice about proper feeding techniques, using the toilet, dressing, recreational activities and, most importantly of all, finding the correct position for sitting or sleeping.
Parents were selected on the basis of their socioeconomic background, ensuring that those most in need were offered the chance to attend. When parents and their children came to the workshops, Navajeevana used the opportunity to offer physiotherapy to the children and measure them up for custom-made seating.
The project is a great example of what Navajeevana does best – helping the most vulnerable and isolated members of society access practical and emotional support to take control of their lives. As Nadeeshani’s story shows, this kind of intervention can make an enormous difference and set people on the path to rehabilitation.
Thank you to all our UK funders – whether you’ve donated to one of our fundraising events, are a regular donor, or have made a one-off contribution. Your help enables us to support these worthwhile and essential projects.