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“We are all the same ”

Naydelin (11) participates in a programme that supports children with disabilities so they feel supported and accepted.

“We’re going to change in our heart and how we are, we’re going to change our way to see things so we can understand, that we are all the same, and no one is better” sings Naydelin, 11, as her father plays the guitar. He wrote this song for her, and has always taught her that even though she has a problem with her hips, this does not make her any less valuable or important than anyone else.

When Naydelin began to crawl, her parents noticed she had a problem with her legs. There was no diagnosis – the nearest health clinic is very far away, and so Naydelin grew up with a distortion in her hip which makes it difficult to run or walk long distances.

Plan International Guatemala's Community-based Rehabilitation project involves engaging community members to help disabled children reach their full potential. The first step involves enabling the family to provide care and a protective environment. The second is to enroll these children in schools so they can make friends and have a normal childhood routine. Finally, the project promotes the opportunity to receive therapy at Community Rehabilitation Centres from specially trained community volunteers. Simple exercises can help stimulate child development. For the first time, these children with disabilities have the chance to receive special care close to home.

Naydelin (in pink) with her school friends
Naydelin (in pink) with her school friends

Very enthusiastically, Naydelin goes to school every day. She lives is on a steep ridge and has to walk over very stony paths, with muddy patches when it rains, but Naydelin doesn’t complain because she loves going to school. There she meets with friends, and celebrates the fact that disabled children come attend school. The other children participate in workshops to see what it is like to have disabilities so they are able to empathise, make friends and help disabled children.