The curse that turned into a blessing
Story from Kapilvastu under Peace and Protection
Seven-year-old Jahirum Islam was born with cerebral palsy in Kapilvastu District. Born with a disability in a Muslim community meant that many people believed this was a curse. For six years he stayed at home doing nothing but lying on his bed. Eventually his grandmother found out about the possibility for treatment through a UMN-supported project and they got him help. This changed Jahirum’s future.
Jahirum had difficulties speaking or moving. His grandmother used to think that her grandson would never be able to move, walk or do any daily living activities. The family also feared that if he went outside of the home his condition would get worse. So Jahirum spent his days lying on his bed at home with his grandmother.
One day Jahirum’s grandmother found out about possible treatment for her grandson from someone in a mother’s group. His grandmother then contacted the social mobiliser of UMN’s partner DSDC and sought help. After going through the process to verify the case, Jahirum was referred to a specialist rehabilitation hospital in Butwal for further treatment. Jahirum was started off on physiotherapy exercises and was given a walker with shoes to help him walk. After he received physiotherapy, Jahirum was more mobile – he was able to move around in his room and the wider community. What a change from staying in bed all day! He’s also able to have a social life now and plays with friends.
With the regular facilitation of the social mobiliser, Jahirum received the disability cards and gets NPR 600 (approx. USD 5) each month.
Jahirum’s family and community are amazed to see these changes in his life. His grandmother expresses her happiness, “We used to take our grandson as a curse and burden, but now we see him as a blessing,” she says. “We get respect from the community and are invited to different programmes to represent him. My voice is heard because of him and I am proud to say that I’m Jahirum’s grandmother.”