Learning to walk again: Nepal Earthquake one year on
On 25th April last year, Nirmala’s life changed forever.
The 8-year-old was visiting family in Kathmandu when suddenly a massive earthquake shook the ground. It was the largest earthquake in Nepal in over 20 years, killing 8,000 people and injuring over 22,000.
Nirmala was trapped under a collapsing wall. Rushed to the trauma centre in Bir hospital, the little girl was among the first earthquake survivors to undergo a life-saving amputation that day.
Since then, thanks to the support of her physiotherapists, Nirmala has not just learned to walk again, but also how to laugh.
Nirmala quickly began emergency rehabilitation sessions with Handicap International. The young girl worked hard with her physiotherapist, Sudan, to learn how to walk again, get dressed and climb stairs. Her beaming smile and positive attitude helped speed up her recovery from day one. She soon started to enjoy life again and now dreams of becoming an actress.
While in hospital, Nirmala met Khembro, a 6-year-old girl who also lost her leg in the earthquake. The two soon became friends and have helped each other through this difficult period.
“They have made great progress. Nirmala has shown enthusiasm and great will power. She gives Khembro confidence and never backs down from a challenge. They have a deep friendship and it is helping with the rehabilitation process” explains Sudan.
One year later, long after the TV cameras have moved on, Handicap International teams are still in Nepal, providing essential rehabilitation care and support to disabled, injured and vulnerable people.
Since last April, the organisation has provided an amazing 16,000 rehabilitation sessions to 6,200 patients and distributed 4,700 mobility aids such as crutches and wheelchairs.
Physical rehabilitation is the vital first step towards regaining independence, giving people the opportunity to be self-sufficient and lead independent lives.
Sadly, in countries such as Nepal, disabled people struggle to access the care they need and can easily find themselves excluded and forgotten.
Amputees, like Nirmala and Khembro, will need life-long support to live independently and with dignity. As they grow, a child amputee will need a new artificial limb every 6 to 12 months.
Handicap International is working tirelessly to improve the lives and prospects of disabled people in Nepal – but there are many more children who desperately need help.
Today you have an amazing opportunity to double your impact! All donations made to Handicap International’s Every Step Counts until the 18th July will be doubled by the UK government.
So there has never been a better time to take a step to support disabled people like Nirmala and Khembro and help them being included in society. You can make a real difference by providing a disabled person with a wheelchair, or giving physiotherapy sessions to help an amputee walk again.
To donate, visit www.everystepcounts.org.uk or call 0870 774 3737.