20 September, 2010

Srey Tung - she wants to read and write

And why shouldn't she? She's 29 years old, and has had a disability almost her entire life. She was never given the opportunity to go to school, or to learn, or to work, or to do anything fulfilling in her life. Might I add - disability can actually be seen as the result of attitudes and practices that prevent people from enjoying economic participation, social inclusion and equality, rather than the result of an individual’s impairment. Srey Tung's situation depicts this very much - her role in life so far - simply to exist. Lying on the bed in the corner. You know what? She wants this to change. Her family also want this now. Below you can see Srey Tung lying where she has spent so many years lying.

The two pictures below were taken last week, at our first village visit to Srey Tung. Wow, did she pull a crowd! These pics show just a few of the many onlookers. Not a lot of privacy in the villages, everyone wanted to see what was happening. And they were intrigued. Srey Tung was out from the bed in the corner, and doing things they'd never seen her do before. From this session, Srey Tung decided she wanted to be able to sit independently. Such a functional position for socialising, eating, drinking, and generally seeing the world as it happens. Not to mention the other health benefits that come from positional changes and sitting up. All of her bodily systems will improve.

Coming back today, she draws even more of a crowd. Srey Tung is not nervous today, either. She is happy, talkative, and expressive. Something we were yet to see.

Srey Tung's strength and endurance today was impressive. Previously, she could not hold any position of anti-gravity on her own for more than a second. Today, she was able to almost independently arrange herself and push up onto her forearms when lying on her tummy. And she could stay there for a minute. A huge improvement. And she was far less uncomfortable. Whilst still working very hard, she was happy and smiling through out. And extremely grateful when given the opportunity to rest!

In particular, a woman, who turns out to be Srey Tung's neighbour, was there today and was so involved with the treatment session. She was encouraging, and assisted where she could. She listened, and wanted to learn ideas. She had discussions with Srey Tung's father, passing on ideas. This lovely lady was astounded, completely surprised at what she was seeing Srey Tung do. She had no idea she would be able to do any of the things she was doing today. She really wants to see Srey Tung progress even further.
With all the chatting going on today, the topic of reading and writing was raised. Srey Tung revealed she cannot read, and she cannot write. But she would like to. Do something everyday. Learn. Be counted.
That's the next aim - to find a way to get some education for Srey Tung. She is able to hold a pen, and even though not formally tested, I'm sure she has the cognitive ability to learn to read.

This story really highlights the lack of awareness amongst Cambodian communities regarding disability. Very, very slowly attitudes are changing, and this is helped by the implementation of the National Law on Disability in 2009. There is a long way to go, but slowly as the country recognises the rights of people with disabilities, and health awareness progresses, opportunities will hopefully arise for all people to lead productive and fulfilling lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment