The UVic research team is lucky to work with an incredible group of volunteer participants in both Guatemala and Nepal, and heard some very inspirational stories from them! Their feedback and enthusiasm was essential to our success. We would like to share with you the story of one of our Nepal trial participants.
She was born with a congenital disability which stopped her arm growing just below the elbow. Her mother wasn’t in the picture from birth, which left her father to support her and her brother. Money and support were always an issue. From the ages of 6 to 10, she worked begging at a local bus stop to make money for the family. Unfortunately, when she was 10 her father passed away after contracting tuberculosis, leaving her and her brother to fend for themselves. Luckily one of the village mothers took it upon herself to care for her brother. However, she was brought to Kathmandu where she was taken in by the SOS Children’s Village, who help provide homes for orphans. At the age of 11, the organization paid for her first prosthetic, a purely cosmetic hand. She remembers the fear of not knowing what it would be like, and the excitement when she received her first prosthetic. She used the device for 3 years, until she was funded for another device which had a higher level of function. She used this new device for 2 years, but it was heavy and cumbersome, and because of this she stopped using it. However, she felt the desire to have another device which was more comfortable and better suited to her needs. After some time, she received another prosthetic which she has been currently using for 5 years. This device was again purely cosmetic, and was extremely worn after only one year. However, with no other option, she continued to be grateful for the device and use it daily. She is currently studying in university, and preparing to leave her village in the next few years to pursue an independent life.
She told us how she thought her life would be different had she not had a prosthetic; she believes that she would not have been as happy in her life, and opportunities she has had like studying in university might not have come. She maintains an incredible, positive attitude about appreciating herself and her abilities, and feels that those who believe she has no inabilities are the only people whose opinions matter.