142nd recipient of our help (Walker)
“When dealing with a disability, you look for things to hold onto”.
Munna is an orphan. A ‘special’ one; he has Cerebral Palsy (CP). He is speech impaired, and can barely walk even with the support of a Walker. He has never owned one. This Walker, was to be his very first, at 13.
Munna lives at Bal Anand, an orphanage at Chembur. His caretaker, a lady, Mrs Priyanka Jagtap, brings six orphans from the Chembur orphanage to a school in Bandra west, daily, in a rickshaw. The school (ADAPT) gives these children free therapy and some level of motor-skills and education.
There are more than a dozen children, at this Chembur orphanage, who have CP, but only six are capable of travelling beyond their orphanage to this school in Bandra for special children.
The other orphans who have CP are either too small or cannot hold their head in place, due to muscular weakness that is caused by CP. So they do not have the good fortune of feeling the wind in the face travelling in a rickshaw, or having a glimpse of open skies and direct sunlight like these 6 fortunate souls amongst them do. Let us look at the positives.
Munna’s caretaker Mrs Jagtap said, “With the aid of this Walker, the best thing is that Munna will now be able to go to the toilet on his own. Wheelchairs cannot enter most toilets, so until now he needed a person to assist him when he needed to use the toilet. Now because of this Walker, Munna can even walk from one class to another independently. Making CP children a little more independent is another aim of our orphanage.”
Experiencing this donation was a reminder for me, once again, never to take my ability to walk, or my ability to be able to go to the toilet and pee or bathe myself, or to be able to eat my food by myself, or drink water myself, for granted. Cycling toh is nothing less than a miracle I now believe.
Munna’s caretaker, Mrs Priyanka Jagtap, to me seemed to be someone who was volunteering at the Orphanage; so I asked her, what made her choose this as her profession, looking after these special, CP, children, that too orphans. They need so much more love, compassion, attention, patience than able bodied and able minded children.
Mrs Jagtap told me, “When I was pregnant with my second child, our doctor suspected my child may be born with a defect, like CP. We were very worried. My husband told me to keep the faith all will be well. My child was born normal.
That is when I decided, if God has been kind to me, saved me from having a CP child, I must look after CP children, especially those who have no parents. I am bringing up my children with proper education and all, so I felt I must do something for orphans and particularly those who have CP.
If we able people do not look after orphans who have CP, who else will? And then, someone has to do it. Because even these CP orphans deserve to have parents. If my children can have parents why these CP special children should not have one? So I have dedicated my life to their care”
As I watched a smiling Munna walk away with the aid of his brand new Walker, however slow he walked, he walked without human support. When dealing with a disability, you look for things to hold onto. Munna holds on to a Walker to deal with his own.
For Mrs Jagtap, it is gratitude she holds on to, to be able to serve special and orphaned children. The service Mrs Jagtap’s provides to these CP orphans is her gift for dealing with the gift of having ‘normal’ able children.
Thank you Dr Niraj Vora for purchasing this Walker for little Munna.
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