A life-changing approach for Siya

Stories | October 7, 2021

Siya became involved in the work of Chotanagpur Sanskritik Sangh (CSS), one of CBM Australia’s partner organisations 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 the age of 14, her family struggled to take care of her. This struggle was exacerbated by poverty. 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 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. 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 improved their 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 became more involved in training programs in the community.

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