Medical Assistance

Occasionally we are able to assist families with medical problems thanks to some of our friends and supporters. This is one case that has brought about a change of life for one young girl, her story is as follows.

Ritika

Ritika (centre) with friends

Ritika's House

Ritika Kumal is 6 years old, her home is in a village in the District of Nawal Parasi in Nepal. The community in which she lives relies heavily on agriculture for providing an income for the family. Her father finds work as a labourer on farms in the district when the season permits. Her mother has found work labouring in a small factory close by their home, they have no land on which to grow any food of their own. Wages for both parents are very low and they struggle to make ends meet, the rising cost of food makes life extremely difficult not only for Ritika’s family but for a large portion of this and many more rural communities in Nepal.

On our visits to Nepal each year we spend time with sponsored children’s families to talk about any difficulties or needs they might have. In 2009 we heard, through a family member, that Ritika was finding it difficult to speak and could we please have a doctor look at her. We arranged for our friend Dr Raj Kharel to see Ritika at his practice in the tourist village of Sauraha some 26 kms away. On seeing her he confirmed that she had a cleft palate which meant that without an operation she would never be able to talk.

Fortunately he knew of a team of doctors who travel around Nepal at various times of the year who carry out such operations and they were in the district at this time. We managed to organize for them to look at her and if all was well they would hopefully carry out the much needed operation. Unfortunately she had a fever and they were reluctant to carry out any surgery. On the teams next visit Ritika once again was too sick to have an operation this happened to be the case on a number of subsequent visits by the team of doctors. In June of this year, thanks to Dr Kharel, we managed to get Ritika a place in the local hospital so that doctors could carry out tests to establish why she was so unwell every time she was put forward for surgery.

It was discovered that she was suffering from viral hepatitis, diarrhea, enlargement of the spleen, dehydration and not surprisingly she was suffering from malnutrition. A very high percentage of children in rural areas suffer from lack of good nutrition as families struggle to make ends meet. Ritika’s parents find it hard enough to put food on the table so paying for treatment for their daughter is something they would find impossible to do. So it was down to good fortune that treatment was made available and with the aid of doctors Ritika’s health improved enough for her to have the operation just last week. Everything went well and she will be attending a speech therapy clinic to help her on her way to being able to talk. She will be attending school soon after our friend Andre, who helped in bringing about this result, offered to sponsor her education.

The whole process has taken over 2 years to bring about a positive change in Ritika’s life but it’s been well worth the effort. Our thanks go out to everyone that helped in this process and in particular to Dr Raj Kharel who gave up his time to help us. Our programmes in education and sustainable agricultural training look at raising the living standards of the whole community. In doing this we believe that young children like Ritika will be able to look forward to a healthier future and parents will be able to put regular nutritious food on the table each day and have access to better health facilities.

Ritika after her successful operation

February 2012

Ritika is now undergoing speech therapy for which she has to travel to the town of Pokhara. This is a follow up service provided by the medical team who carried out the operation. Costs for travel etc are being met by our friend Andre who is also sponsoring Ritika to go to school. She has already begun her education and is enjoying her new school. Thanks again to everyone involved in helping to change Ritika’s life.