Ishvari is a five-year-old girl with Cerebral Palsy. She brings such joy and laughter into our community. She has a charm of her own that touches the heart. Many of our former staff, children, visitors and volunteers would like to know about Ishvari’s progress.
We are trying everything we can to help with her motor handicap. We provide a lot of emotional support and physical attention, including massage and exercise. Progress comes very slowly, but sometimes she surprises us. Like several years ago when she was suddenly able to roll over. Or another time when she was able to bring her hands together. And the very special time she suddenly uttered the word, “Again” over and over when a volunteer sang ‘Twinkle Twinkle little star’. Sometimes she utters distinctively, “I am!” with such power and confidence. These small things light up the hope in our heart that one day she will have an easier life than now.
We were in despair since last December because we could not see any marked improvement. We were worried that her little legs were curled together and that they were not developing enough to support her body. So we searched again for professional help. In the past, we signed her up for a 4-week intensive rehabilitation program every year in Bangkok.
Ishvari at the previous hospital
The program is very expensive, and Ishvari is stateless so there is no government assistance for her. All her costs must be paid up front. We made an intensive effort to raise the necessary funds, find a Nanny to take care of her, and organized all the steps required for Ishvari to travel to Bangkok in March to try the usual physio program in a hospital. It was not so simple. The program was over-crowded and the hospital was experiencing a shortage of staff. Ishvari was left with occasional therapy for only 30 – 60 minutes, and many days she did not have any. In the hospital, she is not allowed to slide on the floor for hygiene reasons so she lost the opportunity to move and to interact with people whilst in bed. For her condition, she needs to be active and engage her small body as much as she can. So it was with a heavy heart that we withdrew her application. But we did not give up. Ishvari showed signs of disappointment at having to leave the program. We suddenly realized that she was keen to learn and eager to make an effort. And then to our utter shock, we discovered that Ishvari could understand everything we said to her in two different languages! What a lovely surprise! A surprise that inspired us to make an extra effort to find an alternative program.
Ishvari at the Foundation in Bangkok
So we searched Bangkok for doctors who could help. We contacted The Foundation for the Welfare of The Crippled in Thailand, a non-profit organization established in 1954. The very kind people there offered a rehabilitation program to us. But they already had 150 children staying inside and their external program had just finished. They told us to come back in October and attend the next out-patient program. But after visiting the Foundation’s doctor things changed. The doctor was overwhelmed by Ishvari’s simple charm and decided she should get immediate help. After discussing with the Foundation’s social workers they decided for intense two-weeks therapy. The whole team was there just for Ishvari. It was a unique experience for an eager student and caring therapists. All free of charge and with an air-con room included! Ishvari was so happy with all the attention. She loved to learn new things and she did not complain about the pain from all the pulling and stretching.
The Foundation also donated us medical aids and equipment to help Ishvari’s body re-align. They gave her a mobile standing frame, plastic foot boots to keep her feet in place and padded leg braces to help her stand. It was so good to welcome her back after two weeks in Bangkok. She greeted us with another beautiful surprise. She could sit by herself in a small chair without support! It has never happened before. She used to sit cross-legged and support the weight of her body by leaning forward which is not a good position for her. Now she can blow soap bubbles, and she can make a paper windmill spin. She couldn’t do either of these things before. It renews our hope that one day she may be able to walk and to talk.
Ishvari back at Baan Unrak:
Here, you can find some of our previous stories about Ishvari: