Maria and her daughter Immaculate

Immaculate is five years old and lives in Rwamwanja refugee settlement with her parents and three siblings. She loves playing with other children, and her favourite foods are potatoes and bananas. Her parents worked as farmers until fighting and violence forced them to flee the Congo and come to Uganda. In 2015 they settled in Rwanwanja, and now farm maize and beans.

When Immaculate was eighteen months old, her parents noticed that she was not developing in the same way as her siblings. They took her to the hospital and were told that she would be lame but received no other diagnosis or support. Immaculate’ mother Maria explained how until KDA came along, they had not heard of Cerebral palsy. “I felt very sad, because Immaculate cannot move and talk and I did not know how to help her,” says Maria. Immaculate does not go to school, but her mother would like her to attend school and get education: “If there would be a special school, where she can learn and study with other children who have the same condition, I would like to send her there.”

Thanks to the training they received they now understand her condition, and more importantly, how they can help improve her mobility with stretching. “The training for me was very enjoyable and I want to duplicate everything I learnt. I am very sure that I will see the effects of the training in my child and I am sure she is going to improve”, says Maria. She tried the exercises at home already and she feels good now that she knows how to help her child. They have already seen great results, and now hope for a future where Immaculate can walk and attend school alongside her peers. “Education never ends, and I wish we would get further support to be able to improve Immaculate’s life”, says Maria. The training has also introduced Immaculate’s parents to other families whose children have cerebral palsy, something that never could have happened prior to receiving a diagnosis.  This new community is a lifeline to a family already living so far away from home, so much so that Immaculte’s mother now wants to help train other families as a way of giving back, “I saw I was not alone in this condition. I want to be equipped enough to be able to train others who have not attended this kind of training.”

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