By contributor Meredith Danberg-Ficarelli
While visiting Rose Charities Rehabilitation Center, I was lucky enough to tag along on a field visit with Joanna, Supak, and Sokny to a farming village where some disabled patients live. We traveled 1.5 hours by tuktuk, first stopping at the home of an encephalitis patient who was not treated early on for her condition. Now at age 31, she has been in an upright seated position only a handful of times, when helped by the RCRC team. She has spent the rest of her life in a reclined position, largely because her muscles are too weak for her to hold herself upright.
Cambodian culture ostracizes disabled people, forcing them out of everyday society and often leaving them isolated and depressed. Joanna believes that if the patient had received treatment from an early age, she could most likely be mobile with the assistance of a walking device. Today however, her muscles are in a state of atrophy beyond recuperation.
Joanna hopes to continue working with her to strengthen her arm muscles, so she can assist her father and other family members in raising her from a reclined position to a seated posture on a daily basis. Sitting up will allow her to interact with other villagers, and assist in daily chores in the village.
Rose Rehab is trying to dedicate a staff member to work with her once a week, we could accomplish this for $30 a month, please donate to help this patient lead a fulfilling life.