Falling accident and a goat had lifelong consequences
In Nepal's remote mountainous villages the very young children are at high risk of falling, broken limbs and burns. As medical care is not available, even the smallest accidents can cause lasting disabilities. Unfortunately, Sarita's story is not uncommon in the remote mountainous areas of Nepal. She lives with a physical disability due to an accident she sustained when she was a child when she did not have access to medical care.
When Sarita was two years old, she was working with her mother on a farm. While the mother was working, no one was watching Sarita, sleeping on the edge of a ledge without handrails. In the mountain towns, the houses are built on the mountains, so the roof of the house below is a ledge or terrace for the house above. There are no stairs, so you climb with mobile ladders carved out of a tree trunk between the terraces. Therefore, there is no fencing on the terraces where toddlers play, people rest and have their lives outside the dark houses. Sarita fell from the patio while she slept, injuring her head and right arm. Unfortunately, her arms did not grow properly together and she has to live with a deformity for the rest of her life. Her accident did not stop there. When she was six, a goat stepped on her right leg. And just as with her arm, she sustained an injury that resulted in a physical disability.
Bullying quenched the motivation
She does not remember a life without disabilities, and has had to learn to overcome the challenges she experiences both physically and mentally: Physically, because her disability makes it difficult to live a normal life. Mentally, because people don't treat her properly. Although her closest friends stand by her side and support her, there are plenty of people who have treated her badly. “I felt really sad when the other kids teased and hurt me. And I have had to convince myself that because I have a disability, I have to accept it, ”says Sarita. The other children teasing her made it mentally difficult for Sarita to go to school, and she often thought about dropping out of school because of bullying.
Physically challenging to come to school
Sarita's other challenge in relation to schooling is the physical environment. The village is full of steep, slippery ladders and rocky narrow paths. Until last year, Sarita went to the HEAD school for children with disabilities in Simikot, a major city three hours walking away on rocks and rocky trails. But she had to stop as it became too difficult for her mother to support her on the road. Her mother encouraged Sarita to go to the local school, but here too the road to the school is difficult and complicating Sarita´s mobility.
“I would like to encourage other children with disabilities to go to school and study. They should not focus on their disability, but on the potential they have. Since I have had to leave school because of my disability, I find it difficult to be an encouragement to others, ”says Sarita, who had high hopes for her future in studying and helping her family. But after she has had to stop going to school, she feels torn and is confused about her future. Mission East's partner, HEAD Nepal, keeps in touch with Sarita and encourages her to start school again and pursuing her dream.
HEAD and Mission East are collaborating on a mobile school for people with visual impairment to reach all families with children with disabilities in the outer areas of Nepal.