One of the things I do in relation to my effort to improve the lives of the children in the center is fund raising. When I said that I love what I do here, this is not inclusive. I do not like going to ask for assistance, but I have to do it, we do not only have to do that which we like, abi?
Sometimes last year, I went to a committe in a church to ask for their assistance in the center’s effort to bring in Conductive Education. As I was making my presentation, they practically booed my out. Yes, you read it correctly, they literally walked me out!! They could not understand what I say that I do.They are used to orphanages, homes for abandoned children and the likes. Why should they give assistance to children living with their parents, the parents should be made to pay for the services I render. What shocked me to my marrow is that I was not upset or angry at their lack of understanding, though it was a group of educated men and women who I expected to have a lot more understanding. As I walked out with my angel, Ziim on my shoulder, all I felt for them was pity at their lack of understanding and prayed that they may see the light.
I guess my prayers were answered for sometimes last month one of their members came to the center and asked that I send in my letter again. Yours truely would have, BZ (Before Ziim) not bothered, but Ziim
has refined is refining me such that I took no offence at their behaviour misbehaviour rather I felt pity for them. I did a letter, tried to explain what and why I do what I do and the need for the CpCenter to be a center that provides early intervention therapies for children with Cp grounded on principles of Conductive Education. I attached the budget for the proposed trial session, and dropped the letter in their office. I thought nothing of it.
Wednesday, about 12 noon, a man came to the center, he said he was from the church. I was busy, but decided to talk with him in the office, but he said he had to wait for his collegue. Fine, we gave him a seat in the therapy room and he watched us do what we do. His collegue later came to join him. They sat down watching us do what we do, they watched us have lunch. It was after lunch that I got to talk with them, but I quickly told them that I may not spend much time with them as I’ld need to write the children’s diary. Ha, you give them report? Yes, the parents need to know what was done with their children. One of them appologized on behalf of the committee for their attitude when I came calling. He said there were some issues before I came in so it was like a case of misdirected agression. Appologies accepted. We talked and he said they will get back to me, there seeems to be a better understanding of what the center does. Said they do not give cash to organizations they assist, is there anything like chairs the center needs, they could buy that. No, we do not need any such thing, we are working on bringing in Conductors from Hungary, you could call that “something” and pay their fees. Anyway, they will get back to me he said. As I walk them to the door, one of them said; these children do not look like the less privileged. Hm..That brings me to the subject of this post. Who do we render assistance to? How do we render assistance?
What I “heard” from the man’s statement was; these children do not look malnurished, sad, unloved and abandoned. These are the images we like to see to evoke our sympathy to give assistance. And what do we give to a malnurished audience? Food, old clothes and shoes…..hand downs. What happens when the food finishes and the clothes get worn out? I once went to a man reputed to be wealthy to ask for assistance for the center for the same purpose, he spent over half an hour
telling me regaling on how he organizes yearly Xmas party for children with disabilities, the press usually carry the story. He failed to understand that children like Ziim do not need such parties, they need something a lot more than that. When a child with Cp like Ziim who is grossly involved goes to is carried to a party, how does she be part of the eating, drinking and dancing that make a party a party? And if you want to give assistance to such chilren, would a party be the thing of choice. Wouldn’t you rather do something that would most likely improve the quality of life of such children, like paying for therapies for them?
Who do we assist? Must the person seeking assistance always look “sickly” to prove that h/she needs assistance? In the case of persons living with disabilities, must they be in institutions/ orphanages to receive assistance? How do we render assistance to persons living with disabilities. Here, the hype seems to be to send bags of rice, cartons of noodles and toiletories. How do we render assistance to people with disabilities? Do we try to assist them to be freed from the shackles of the disabilities that hold them captive? Me thinks that those who give assistance to persons with disabilities may begin to ask questions other than what materials the institution needs. Often times, the materials needed most by a center such as the Cerebral Palsy Center is committed personels that will assist the child to gain some independence.
People need to know that a lot of children with disabilities such as Cp live at home with their parents and they too could do with some assistance. Cerebral palsy is said to be the most expensive congenital disorder to manage thus parents with childre with Cp need lots of assistance. It is in recognition of this fact that the CpCenter is established to render free and quality service to children with Cp. It is hoped that a lot more people will understand this and come to assist the center in her effort to bring as much independence to the children.