German NGO helps physically challenged children in Ladakh

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Leh, Apr 3(ANI): A few German volunteers along with residents in Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir are running a non-governmental organisation to provide required medical facilities to the physically challenged children of the state.

In 2003, a German couple, Karola and Juergen Kostial while visiting a village in Ladakh came across a child with CP (Cerebral Palsy = brain damage). They then realised that there are many other untreated children with similar conditions in the region and that they and their families desperately needed help.

They then started Ladakh-Hilfe (Ladakh Help), a non-profit organisation funded by donations. The organisation started sending professional physiotherapists and occupational therapists from Germany, Switzerland and Austria to Ladakh to work as volunteers.

However, in 2008, residents in association with the Ladakh-Hilfe founded an NGO 'Rewa Society, Ladakh Disabled Children Group'.

"I think it's very important that you don't always compare normal children with handicapped children because every child has the right of their own development. The children that come to Rewa, they just need a little bit more time and special treatment," said Alexandra, a German volunteer.

Residents are being employed by the organisation and many dedicated foreign volunteers give professional care to the physically challenged children.

Working with the people in the remote areas requires a lot of patience and sensibility, said an official.

"It was very difficult in the beginning. We had to struggle a lot. But somehow, we managed to convince the parents of the physically challenged children. We tell them how to treat a disabled child, how to keep him/her at home and to love him/her like any other normal child. We educate the parents. Things have now improved a lot and we are happy," said Tshering Dolkar, Senior Coordinator, Rewa Society And Ladakh Hilfe, Leh.

The main objective of the society and the German based NGO Ladakh Hilfe is to help physically challenged children of the Ladakh region to become independent by equipping them with necessary skills.

Apart from physiotherapy, children are also taught basic exercise and they have shown remarkable improvement.

"Initially, all of us, my family members thought that she is very healthy that's why she is not being able to walk properly. But later on we came to know about her problem. We then took her to the hospital. The doctor told us about a few therapies and about the Rewa Society. Now I can see improvement in her after joining the centre," said Zaro Bano, mother of a physically challenged child.

At present, almost 15 children are undergoing treatment at the Rewa Ability Centre. By Jigmet Vangchuk (ANI)

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