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Opportunity to strengthen rehabilitation in Ethiopia

22 Apr 2021 6:38 AM | Anonymous

The following is a message from “Hidden Abilities”, which we have agreed to share on our website. However, NZRA is not involved in any aspect of Hidden Abilities, or its parent organisation SIM Ethiopia. Hidden Abilities and SIM Ethiopia do not represent NZRA. If you are interested in exploring this opportunity further, you will need to do your own research into this organisation and the terms and conditions of contributing to their work. Contact details are supplied below.

If you’ve ever wanted to use your rehabilitation skills and experience to help other countries flourish, then Ethiopia is a land of opportunity (and great coffee). 

With very few physiotherapists, particularly with any experience in paediatric therapy, and no occupational therapists or speech and language therapists, they are facing an uphill battle to support those who most desperately need the help. 

Hidden Abilities is a SIM project based in Bahir Dah, Ethiopia who provide therapy to children with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, club feet and other developmental delay. 

There is an opportunity for you to visit them on a short-term trip to upskill their staff, or share your resources or simply donate to help fund the work they do. 

In Ethiopia having a disability or a disabled child is seen as a curse from God. The shame drives many parents to hide their children in their homes, or for the father to abandon his wife and children. 

Hidden Abilities works to “help children discover and develop their ‘hidden abilities’, and to feel loved and valued for who they are”. 

Nati is one of the children they are helping flourish. While in the Neonatal Unit after a difficult birth, his parents were told that they shouldn’t waste their money as he’d probably die soon. His parents insisted that as long as he was breathing, they would do all they could for him. 

He went home after a few weeks but it wasn’t until he was about one that they noticed he didn’t stand or walk like other children and always sat with one leg bent backwards. Most medical people told them “ there’s no hope; take Nati home and feed him but he will never be able to walk”. 

But someone told them about Hidden Abilities and the family travelled over 30km to the centre where after several months Nati was able to crawl, stand and then walk. His parents dream of the day when he will be able to run and go to school like all ‘normal’ children. 

Each week they are providing free therapy twice a week for 80 children up to 18 years old. They also provide nutritional support for the poorest families and educational support for those children fortunate enough to attend school. 

They are currently in discussions with the Government training hospital about starting an Early Intervention Programme. “By treating early, we can potentially undo damage within days or weeks rather than years, which would significantly improve the quality of life of the child and their family.” 

If you’d like to know more about Hidden Abilities and the possibility to visiting them you can contact Emily Ling: emily.ling@sim.org / whatsapp: +251965179122 

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