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April 24, 2017
Aisha and Yousra studied physiotherapy at Ahfad University for Women; they’ve graduated in April 2016. Since then, they have been attending their civil service at OVCI as pediatric physiotherapists. Now, their main tasks are making the first assessments and the home visits included in the Community Based Rehabilitation program.
How would you describe your CBR commitment to a non-specialist?
Y: CBR stands for community based rehabilitation, it’s a program based on visiting the patients in their own environment to see how it affects the person and in consequence, what we can do to fix it.
And how do you act on the environment?
A: We adjust it according to the person’s home environment. If, for example, there is sand around the main door of the house, we place a roller in order to help the person with disability to be active and independent in their everyday life.
Y: Of course, we can only use the materials and tools which are available in the environment itself.
A: They must be as much as affordable to the family and the community.
But the environment is not only made of material things.
Y: Yes, exactly. For example; if the family we assigned to is overprotective, we advice them to let their child out from time to time in order to communicate with other children in their neighborhood.
A: We make sure to build their awareness regarding disability, and focus on what their child can do rather than what they cannot do. We also encourage the family to make their child an active participant in the community as much as possible.
Y: This is the most common problem we face. The family tries to protect and support the pwd by doing everything for them, but this doesn’t allow them to become autonomous.
A: Of course this is not enforced on families only, majority of schools do not accept persons with disability which is a very difficult issue because as physiotherapists, we are not assigned for activities that are carried out by the CBR coordinators; Abdallah Koko & Khadija. They visit schools to speak with the dean and teachers to discuss the possibility of including kids with disability.
Do you have any particular story you would like to share with us?
A: The CBR visits are usually quite strong experiences. It brings such joy to us when we find a family is taking good care of their child and encourages them to integrate into the community’s everyday life.
Y: Yes, and most of the times we find the child is very happy about our visit, and some of them wait for us since morning outside their house.
A: But sometimes it could be difficult, especially when we find a person that with proper treatments could’ve had a different life.
In this regard, do you think CBR could have a role in the improvement of the conditions of PWD?
A: Totally. Most of the families we visit do not have the possibility of bringing the PWD to the center.
Y: In addition, the majority of the parents are working, or they cannot afford the transportation costs.
So you think that, through the CBR, more PWD could have access to rehabilitation treatments. What about the social aspect?
A: I think we always have to remind people to put their attention on the abilities, rather than on the disabilities of a person. We need to look at what a person can actually do, in order to integrate them in the community.
Y: I agree. We must show the communities the abilities of the PWD, what they can do, the fact that they can go to school, they can work, etc.
On the personal level, what did the home visit give you?
Y: The first time I saw Abdallah Koko and the volunteers, their commitment and dedication caught my attention and how they utilize their free time to get trained to help other people, and it was just amazing. It moved me as a physiotherapist and I am considering volunteering in the future.
A: In my case, it’s about thinking about others. It’s about taking some of my time to make a big or small change in other people lives.
At the professional level, does it make any difference?
Y: Yes, a huge difference. Because in the CBR visits you have to be creative, you have to think of how to change something in the environment with what you have.
A: You know, before I join OVCI I wanted to study medicine but I couldn’t, so I studied physiotherapy because it’s the closest thing to medicine and I can make a lot of money. But when I started with the CBR home visits, I have realized how money affects people, how much their lives and health depend on it. I don’t know what happened, but now I actually prefer to earn less money and help people. It’s one of the major changes that happened to me, and for this reason I would really thank OVCI.
Y: Yes me too, it has been a challenging but wonderful experience for both of us.
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