Challa's Story

Challa Roba, 13, had been crawling on his hands and knees since contracting polio in early childhood. He had never been to school or played with other children. Remembering his childhood he says,

"When I tried to play with my neighbours' children their parents forbid them to play with me, thinking that my disability was contagious. After some time I was hidden in a room at home to keep my parents' dignity and to prevent my disability from spreading to others.

"Fortunately, my parents heard the Cheshire outreach team was nearby and took me there. They told me my legs could be corrected. I didn't trust them but I was happy to be taken to the Menagesha Home. It is not overstated to call it living in paradise. I saw the children performing drama, presenting poems and dancing in front of the staff. I was surprised at their confidence but eventually I developed the same courage".

Challa has gone through all processes of rehabilitation and has been given walking appliances. He was being provided with gait training during the interview. He was eager to return home and start formal education.

"The staff taught me to read and write. Now I am excited to be going back to my community and to show them all the miracles Cheshire brought to my life. Hopefully all will put their hands to their mouths, being so surprised. I no longer discriminate myself and never allow others to deny my rights. I will teach other people that I don't deserve pity but respect."

Hawa's Story

Hawa is a fifteen year old girl from a rural district in Western Ethiopia. She has eight siblings and her parents' livelihood is purely dependent on farming. At a young age she contracted polio and both her legs were affected by paralysis - as a result she was forced to crawl on her hands and knees for 13 long years.

Hawa's parents felt humiliated by her disability and fearing the social stigma, never sent her to school or allowed her to play with children of her own age.

She had only ever dreamed of walking and couldn't believe it when the Cheshire outreach team visited her village and referred her for corrective surgery. She has undergone two operations on each leg and has been given intensive physiotherapy and custom made callipers and crutches.

"The most precious thing I got from the Menagesha Home is the perceptual change towards my disability. I have learnt a great lesson as it is not how one walks, but how one's mind works that makes a person great".

Hawa has returned to her home, joined school and has made many friends in her neighbourhood. She hopes to become a lawyer when she finishes her education.