We have had a great story from Jonah Sialamano, our disability expert in Zambia. Jonah writes:
Bertha Hakajika, Female aged 09 of Village Kazingwe, Gonde area, Monze District: She has a diagnosis of Cerebral, with delayed developmental milestones. She has difficulties with sitting, standing, walking and carrying out day to day activities expected for her age.
She is being kept by her grandmother in Kazinwe village. Her father deserted her after seeing that she was disabled. The father is not known exactly where he is but it is just generalized that he is in Livingstone. As it is known in Zambia, there are few men who accept disabled children as their step daughter or son when mothers of disabled children are getting married to them. And so, when mothers opt for marriage, they leave their children with their relatives especially grandmothers. So is the case with Bertha. The mother got married and went to settle in Luapula Province where the current husband got a job.
The grandmother takes Bertha to St John of God Child Development Centre, a Holy Family programme where children with cerebral palsy and other Allied Conditions are taken for physiotherapy exercise.
Kazingwe Village is about 13km along Livingstone, southern part of Monze and about 3 km off Livinstone Road west of Monze.
Depending on the days of appointment for physio sessions, the grand mother to Bertha lifts her from the village to the road side to hike for lifts (Vehicles) to Monze Town. When they reach Monze Town, if they have money, they book a Taxi and if they don’t have money, the grand mother has to walk from Town to the Physio centre about 2 Km while carry Bertha in her hands or at her back as another Zambian way of lifting children.