Chloe and Joseph are parents of ten children. Leo is nine years old. Leo is the family’s only child who has cerebral palsy and was born before his parents decided to leave their home in the Congo and move to Uganda. “Life at home was good until the rebels came”, Chloe explains. Joseph and Chloe had a stable income and were able to provide for their children. But their family’s life has changed drastically. “Rebels could come and kill people. Others would be kidnapped”, says Chloe.
It has been seven years since they arrived in Rwamwanja refugee settlement. “Life is really difficult. Nothing is going well,” says Chloe. The family engages in farming activities, but there is no opportunity for setting up their own business and be more independent. They work for other members of the community and they receive some food after the work is done. But most of the time, that is not enough. The family additionally depends on food contributions from the settlement.
Leo (in the front), his parents (left) and siblings
Leo’s parents noticed that something was different about him as he became older. They took him to the hospital, but the doctors did not diagnose him with anything and stated that the “child was a little lame but otherwise in healthy condition”. It was only after COHERE and KDA carried out the training when they realised that Leo is living with cerebral palsy. Before the project, they did not receive any support from a medical centre, other organisations or family and friends. Chloe and Joseph did not know how to help Leo. They felt overwhelmed as they also have nine other children to take care of. The parents consider education a very important part of their children’s lives. “Leo cannot attend regular schools with other children due to his immobility. When he is at home he likes to play with a ball and his favourite food is potatoes.”
Chloe and Joseph found the training very useful. “I really enjoyed the training, especially the stretching exercises. I did not know how to stretch my child, but now I know, and I will continue practicing. I will also teach my other children and show them how they can assist their brother”, Chloe explains. Meeting other parents who have children with cerebral palsy was particularly important for Chloe and Joseph, “I felt so happy realising that I was not alone with the problem. And we are very grateful for all the support that we have received in the past weeks.”