Every Child Matters
Fighting for children to have a better life is often intertwined with other passionate people. We believe that much of what we do is build relationships, learn from others and try to share knowledge and ideas with others. None of us the all the right answers and we can benefit from others. Sometime you make a connection that offers more than you could ever imagine.
We had heard from friends about the work of Tezpur Baptist Hospital in Northeast India. This rural region of India is much different than it's mainland penisula. It lacks the bustling urban landscape and is distinct by it's majestic himalayan views, rice paddies and village structure. It is also different because of how this hospital is leading the charge to bring hope and healing to disabled children.
We value passionate local leaders and want to encourage them to bring solutions to thier communities that they believe. We found such a passionate leader in Prathiba Milton. Prathiba is a public health officer in the mission hospital. Her job was traditional public health work but her vision was expanded by the plight of disable children in this region. With the support of her medical director and pediatrician, Dr Koshy George, she began pursuing a better life for these children.
We first partnered with Prathiba by coordinating a team of therapist to travel to India to provide education and training to the hospital staff. Training that would especially benefit children with disabilities. Disabilities which led many families to a life of shame and isolation. Prathiba championed the cause of these kids and instituted a community health model that brought therapist to the families. She further developed care centers that provided further care and respite for the families.
What we witnessed in oour return trip was a phenomena that went far beyond improved functional capacity of children. We witnessed children improving but we also witnessed families empowered. We witnessed communities rising up to celebrate these children. We witnessed hope.
The photo above was taken on World Disability Day in December of 2011. We participated in a parade that day. A parade dedicated to the children of Assam and blessing that they were to thier community. These rickshaws carried the smiling faces of bodies broken by disability but full of hope and promise. Dozens of rickshaws participated. The parade led to a celebration of hope attended by local officials, parents and community members. The children performed and the community saw what hope and healing can do in the life of a child.
We applaud Prathiba, Dr Koshy and that staff of Tezpur Baptist Hospital. They have stood and fought for the lives of disabled children everywhere by demonstrating that they are to be celebrated and loved!