Southern India- Project Vijay
When Vijay was born, he was not expected to live. His parents gave him loving care, but professional medical services were not affordable. He was bedridden until age 7, but then, through sheer determination, he began steadily improving, while continuing to have both physical and developmental challenges. In 2018, because of your support, Disabled Children’s Fund provided Vijay with an all-terrain pediatric wheelchair to enhance his ability to get around in the rural area where he lives.
Vijay is the “face” of our effort to help disabled children in India. We named the initiative “Project Vijay” after him due to his winning personality and positive spirit. In many parts of the world, having a disabled child is something to be ashamed of, and the child is often confined to the house and hidden from the rest of the community. Even loving families have few resources available to help their dear children live a better, richer life.
Project Vijay began with needs assessments of disabled children and their families in some urban and rural areas of southern India. These children are challenged by a range of physical and developmental disabilities. In some cases, they urgently need properly made and fitted wheelchairs, a scarce item in India. When fitted with a wheelchair, these children have mobility with dignity and a feeling of independence. We also support a trained nurse who provides special needs training and services.
Gatherings are held periodically for these children and their families, where the families share their experiences and get a time of respite. A meal is provided, and special programs are offered for the disabled children. It doesn’t take much to improve the quality of life for these wonderful children. If there are other children in the family without disabilities, these disabled kids get the hand-me-down cloths, often nothing but rags. Disabled Children’s Fund provides these children a new set of cloths, a great financial help for these poor families. You should see the children’s excited reaction to this—such a little thing in our eyes, but it means a lot to them.
Helping Disabled Children
of Military Families
We all know about the attacks on our country on 9/11/01. However, you may not be aware that ever since that terrible day, our wonderful military, only 1% of the U.S. population, has endured the hardship and danger of multiple assignments in combat zones, away from loved ones. Imagine the added worry of knowing that you are leaving behind your disabled child. Fortunately, military families in this situation don’t have to face these challenges alone. The Department of Defense established the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) to provide help and resources to these families. While the government funds many EFMP services, there is not enough money to meet all the needs. For example, at Fort Hood, Texas , there are over 4,500 family members eligible for EFMP services, so some needs wind up not being met. With your help, Disabled Children’s Fund (DCF) assists the EFMP in working to meet those needs. This often means making it possible to conduct activities that help the children reach their potential or give parents some needed caregiver respite. Sometimes, one event can accomplish both things!
Thanks to people like you, such an event happened at Fort Hood in April.
With DCF’s help, Fort Hood EFMP hosted a spring festival, with hundreds of people in attendance. “It’s an opportunity for EFMP to sponsor family activities, so that Families with special needs can come out and socialize, meet and greet and maybe form a relationship to help support one another,” Dr. Thomas Jones, director of Fort Hood EFMP, said.
There were several performances on stage throughout the day, and many were by kids and teens enrolled in EFMP. People browsed through the dozens of booths. Free food, beverages and snacks were also provided. There were fun physical activities, designed for special needs children.
When Dr. Jones called to thank us for our support after the Festival’s successful conclusion, he told us that some children were very talented, but due to their disabilities, hesitate to perform in public. EFMP events provide a safe environment for these kids to thrive. Parents had tears in their eyes watching their children performing on stage—some for the first time.
Our military families sacrifice so much for us. Won’t you please join us in saying thanks by helping us work with EFMP?