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Community Based Rehabilitation - CBM Ethiopia


Together we can do more

Tiruye Deresse, Ayechew's Mother -
There is nothing I can do that he is blind. It is just God's will.

Had I known the way out, I would have found a solution.
Narrator -
Whatever the perceptions, these types of disabilities are reason for despair in rural Ethiopia.

Zemed Akele, Esuyawkal's Mother -
I never realised the degree of his disability. We did nothing to help him.

Narrator - Considering the number of people with disabilities in the country, the degree of hopelessness is broad.

Tigabu Gebremedhin, Director CBM Ethiopia -
Ethiopia has 16.7 percent people with disabilities. If you calculate by 85 or 82 million, about 14 million people are people with disabilities.

Narrator -
And here in the Oromo region of Northern Ethiopia, many of these children have been left to fend for themselves.

Yezab Melkamu -
But nowadays, it got really worse and hard for me to follow in class. That's because I can't hear.

Melkamu Dessic, Yezah's Father -
She comes home crying from school. That is because her friends are tired of helping her and started calling her names.

Narrator -
Their chances of going to school are slim. For those who are in school, the drop-out rate is high.

Yekaba Tesfaw -
I can only see lines of chalk on the blackboard and nothing else.

I thought all students were like me who could only see lines.

Only in grade 3 did I realise that they were all capable of reading and that they could actually see.

I seriously felt it when I got to the 4th grade.

Narrator -
To help address these misperceptions and tackle the problem, CBM developed a strategy for the training and deployment of community based rehabilitation workers, otherwise known as CBR workers.

Tigabu Gebremedhin, Director CBM Ethiopia -
The CBR workers have to go house to house to identify children with disabilities. Once they are identified, they will sit with the parents to make them understand what can be done if they work together.

The CBR workers will not jump into rehabilitation processes with an individual child.

CBR worker -
This is not a punishment from God. This is something that actually can be fixed.
Narrator -
Reaching out is but the first step, the bulk of the job is in the details.

Addisalem Dessie, CBR worker -
You told me that you have employed plenty of traditional healers and put medicine in her eyes.

Zewde Achenef, Yekaba's Mother -
It was only because we were ignorant that we failed to seek medical treatment.

Tesfaw Tsehay, Yekaba's Father -
Yes, I want her to be treated.

Narrator -
For CBR workers, the challenges are not few and the road to recovery is a long one.

Child -
They asked me whether I would like to go to school. I said YES!

They told me to go home and be back for school in September.

That is what I am going to do.

Dr Alemu Kessi, Ophthalmologist -
She came late, she is now 17 years old. It is beyond the state of elasticity of the visual system. With glasses, she can read from a distance and she can have regular school activities.
Narrator -
The medical part makes a significant section of the intervention but that's not all.

Today is the eighth round - they have already changed the dressing seven times. There is so much change.

Dr Nega Kiros, ENT Surgeon -
We have taken soft tissue from the body and we have closed the perforated eardrum, so I am sure her reading capacity will increase.

Narrator -
The intervention has brought a difference. Children with disabilities and their families have seen the way forward. And opportunities are not to be missed.

They have told me that it is all done and that we can go home. I am really happy.

Esthetu Gudeta, Director Bako School of the Blind -
When we joined us here, he had problems walking. Because of the mobility training that we gave him, he has improved a lot.

Tiruya Deresse, Ayechew's Mother -
I am very happy now that I have seen my child. I thank God.

Narrator -
No wonder that the very people at the heart of the intervention have become agents of change. As a result, many from various villages in the remote parts have come to realise that disability is no longer a curse.

Zemed Akele, Esuyawkal's Mother -
He was crawling, but now he's walking - I can never be more happy. It is like giving birth again.

Priest Tadesse Tegegn, Esuyawka's Father -
If you ever hear of similar disabilities, tell them to come over see my child and the difference in his conditions.

CBR Worker - You were not enthusiastic when two years ago, I talked to you about the possibility of having your child cured.

Father -
I am now full of hope. With God's help, I would like to send him to school.

Zewde Achenef, Yekaba's Mother -
Had it not been for the intervention, she would have ended up the way she was.Now, with the medical treatment, her sight has improved and we told her to continue her education.

Yekaba Tesfaw -
Like any other student, I can now read and write from the blackboard no matter where I sit.

I now can hope to finish my education.   

Yezab Melkamu -
I am better now. My hearing capacity is almost perfect.

Melkamu Dessie, Yezab's Father -
I am telling people that it is not traditional healer but doctors that have solved my daughter's problems.

Credits -
CBM 2012
Zana Productions

Ethiopia has 16.7 percent of its population living with disabilities. CBM Ethiopia is working to make their lives better through Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR). Watch as CBM's CBR workers help families improve the lives of children with disabilities.


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