Prabin, 6, plays football. | © A.Thapa / HI
Prabin, 6, was born without the lower part of his right leg. HI met him 5 years ago when the family was referred to a rehabilitation centre in Biratnagar. Since then, he’s come on leaps and bounds.
It wasn’t until Prabin’s mother Sunita was well enough to return home from the hospital that she realised something was wrong. Prabin, her baby boy had been born missing the lower part of his right leg.
“I felt very disappointed and asked my husband why he didn’t tell me before?” Sunita remembers. “He said that the doctor told him not to discuss this condition with me because I was so unwell that it could make me more nervous and that would be dangerous.”
The first years of Prabin’s life were difficult for Sunita and the family. They loved their little boy but the community wasn’t very accepting of children with disabilities. “Because of his disability, I couldn’t stop worrying about his future,” Sunita continues.
“It seemed like nobody could help us. But then a social worker told us about the rehabilitation service at Biratnagar, supported by HI and then everything changed.”
The family first visited HI’s local partner Community Based Rehabilitation centre in Biratnagar when Prabin was just one and a half.
At first, Sunita and her husband had their doubts.
“That’s where we met Ambika for the first time. I had no idea that these types of services existed. My husband and I really doubted that my son would be able to walk. But Ambika explained how the device would work and how it could help him, then we were convinced.”
Ambika Sharma, a Prosthetist and Orthotist for HI’s partner organization, recalls meeting the family for the first time.
“It was my first time making a leg for a one-year-old child and our first attempt was not successful at all,” She remembers.
“For his first prosthesis, the measurement was slightly inaccurate and we could not attach it to his leg. But we persevered and on the second attempt it was perfect,” says Ambika.
After that, it wasn’t long before Prabin was up and about on his new leg. By the next time Sunita brought Prabin to the centre, he had already made amazing progress.
“It was a wonderful change in our little boy,” his mother explains. “He accepted his leg right away and just began playing, running and even jumping like any other child of his age.”
To Sunita’s delight, after he was fitted with his prosthesis, Prabin was accepted into their local school.
His parents had to leave very early each morning for work, and so the young boy learned to get himself ready, lock up the house, and walk to the bus stop all by himself. As well as that, he also had taxing daily exercises to do and he had to clean and take care of his prosthesis.
The first few months weren’t easy and he was really shy around other children and his teacher. But Prabin persevered and it wasn’t long before his personality started to shine through.
You wouldn’t believe Prabin was ever shy when you see him today – he is full of energy and the life and soul of the class.
He’s also the fastest runner and the highest jumper at play time. Most of all, though, he loves to play football. “Now, when he sees a football, he can't keep calm,” says his teacher, Binita.
But school isn’t just fun and games for Prabin. “He’s an intelligent and obedient student,” Binita is careful to stress.