Notes From Nepal — March 25, 2005

by Rob Rose, Cub Reporter

A number of people have mentioned to me that many of the children I’ve shown from the Disabled Newlife Center (DNC) don’t appear to have a disability. They appear very happy, joyful and seem to get around quite well. I’m sorry to report that all of the children you have seen in my presentations have a physical disability of some sort. Many times a missing or misshapen arm is hidden by a long-sleeved shirt or coat. A missing or malformed foot or leg is disguised by a prosthetic or special shoes and then covered with pants or a dress. My goal is to inform and inspire, but not exploit the children through my photographs, interviews and filming. As Fran, a dedicated volunteer from England has told me, “I don’t want people to give out of pity, I want them to give because they want to be of help”.

I have a remarkable story to tell you about a small boy at the center named Sanjay. All of the children at this center have their own difficult life-stories, but Sanjay is a relatively new addition to the DNC family and his story deserves telling.

Sanjay is a small Nepali boy, about six or seven years old. On first glance, he looks much like any other non-disabled child. However, if you take the time to look closer, you can see the differences. When Sanjay was just a few months old, he suffered some severe burn injuries to both of his feet, and as a result they had to be amputated. By the time he arrived at the center, Sanjay had become used to dragging himself around and crawling to get from place to place. He had terrible scarring from the burns and ulcers on his legs, which made the area very tender and vulnerable. Old dressings were still stuck to his legs, and volunteers from the center carefully soaked them off. Before the doctors could do any corrective work, these ulcers needed to heal, but this wasn’t working. In the end, he needed skin grafts to help the healing, which, after a long time, was successful. Finally, one day he went to the hospital and he was fitted with special shoes. The moment they were on his feet, he was off, staggering out of the prosthetics department at the hospital! That whole first day, he didn’t stop. So much so that it was difficult to keep track of him, he was so active!

Sanjay had never in his life walked. He had never in his life had such freedom of movement. Now, he’s always on the move and he relates so much better to other children. He’s able to give and receive attention and love. Thanks to help from our club, Rotary/Rotaract Clubs from in Nepal, and other volunteers and supporters, children like Sanjay are receiving the treatment, support and love that they need.

Thank you for your continued support for this and other projects in Nepal and India.

Yours in Rotary,
Rob Rose

P.S. Special thanks to DNC volunteer, Fran for relating Sanjay’s life story to me.