In a corner of the Humanity & Inclusion rehabilitation center in the Ukhiya camp, Bangladesh, six-year-old Hamas finds joy bouncing on a large pink ball. Hamas, who has cerebral palsy, does rehabilitation exercises with Redwanul, an HI physical therapist, in order to relieve the extreme tightness in his muscles. Lacking medical care in his native Myanmar, however, his diagnosis came too late to prevent the onset of serious disabilities.
Redwanul leads Hamas through the session, while Saidunamin, the little boy’s father, observes the session closely. When they return home to their makeshift shelter in the camp, Saidunamin will be the one helping Hamas do the exercises.
Hamas’ problems started soon after his first birthday. Saidunamin was at a loss back then: “The hospitals didn’t know what to do and didn’t offer any care,” Saidunamin explains with emotion in his voice. “Hamas’ problems only got worse. A year later, he could hardly move.”
Hamas’s muscles now have a tendency to contract all the time, causing a general paralysis that mostly affects his arms and legs. Exercises are crucial for reducing his stiffness.
Four of Saidunamin’s six children have some form of disability. Their disabilities are especially challenging for a family in a refugee camp like Ukhiya, with its dirt roads and near complete lack of accessible facilities. “My wife is also disabled, so I have to care for Hamas by myself,” says Saidunamin.
In these circumstances, the HI center offers a haven for refugees who need help. Here, people with disabilities and their family members receive the resources they need to improve their lives.
Redwanul explains to Saidunamin that support for beneficiaries extends beyond the services offered at rehab center. HI can refer beneficiaries to partner organizations to receive additional specialized care. An HI technical consultant will visit the family soon to see what other services they might benefit from. Redwanul sends Saidunamin and Hamas home with the words, “we are here to help you.”