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A Life Changing Approach for Siya

Stories | October 7, 2021

A Life Changing Approach for Siya

Siya became involved in the work of Chotanagpur Sanskritik Sangh (CSS), one of CBM Australia’s partner in India, after her family bought her along for an assessment at one of the health camps organised by the project. Siya was born with cerebral palsy, and at age 14, her family struggled to take care of her well. Poverty exacerbated this. Her mother, a single parent, was a migrant worker and would often leave Siya in the care of her aunt who worked at a brick kiln. Siya was missing out on basic rehabilitation and healthcare, and had had little access to any education. The future did not look bright.

The project team worked with Siya’s mother and aunt, providing them with examples and ideas on how to improve the basics of daily living and mobility around the house. The family was linked to a physiotherapist who provided home-based rehabilitation, and the project team began home-based education under the direction of a special educator.

CSS also supported the family in establishing a small business selling leaf plates and brooms, which has resulted in a better economic situation. This meant that Siya’s mother was not forced to be away from the family for long periods of time, picking up day labouring work locally. Both Siya’s mother and aunt have become more involved in training programs in the community.

Over the course of three years, Siya’s situation has improved significantly. She has now enrolled in the local school and her physical mobility has improved dramatically.  Basic things that she could not do a few years ago, like feeding herself, brushing her teeth and going to the toilet are now things that she can do with ease. Her communication has also improved greatly, and while some people still find it challenging to understand her, Siya has developed a set of gestures and signs that help her convey what she needs. The project team has also provided guidance to her around things like menstrual hygiene management.

As a result of the project, what we now see is a young woman whose confidence has increased dramatically. Once lonely, socially isolated, and avoided by other young people in the village, Siya is now more accepted and supported by the community around her.


CBM acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).


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