In most African homes, a successful child is associated with the father, while one considered unsuccessful belongs to the mother. However, the story is different for one Robert whose son Samuel is living with a disability, his dedication and commitment towards his son’s life in unbeatable. The role of a father in the family continues to evolve and it is important to understand how these changes impact the life of children, especially those living with disabilities.
Robert is not sure whether Samuel made the first cry after birth, but he knows that his son was incubated for 2 weeks before they were released to go home with their new born. “The reason for incubation must have been the prolonged labor that his mother had.” Robert explains. Samuel was born a full-term baby and after weighing 3.2kgs and after his discharge from the nursery, the doctors did not communicate to his parents regarding anything to do with his health. His parents took him home convinced that he was a fine baby.
As time passed, Samuel attended post natal clinics like any other child yet the nurses did not communicate any notable signs to his parents. It was not until he was a little older that his mother noticed that he could not stand on his own when placed in an upright position. His limbs were too weak and could not support his weight. This led Robert and his wife to seek medical advice. They went back to a local District Hospital to seek medical attention and were advised to see an Occupational Therapist. The many trips to the hospital did not bear any fruits since there were long queues at the hospital and they were charged for every visit, which was quite a burden to the family. The exercise became tiresome and expensive to them prompting them to give up on therapy, and although not on the child.
3 years on, Samuel could still not support himself, neither could he walk. His age mates would run all over the place enjoying the sun but Samuel would sit by himself at a corner. Watching other children play feeling made him feel sorry for himself. This of course, broke the hearts of his parents. It was not until one of their visits to the hospital, that Robert met one of the beneficiaries of The Action Foundation’s Tunza Program, who told him how her daughter has benefited from therapy at TAF Hub in Kibera. Being that he was at the brink of giving up on ever helping his little boy gain coordination of his body, he came just to try and see what happens.
On 4th of March 2019, Samuel was admitted into The Action Foundation’s Tunza Program and scheduled for therapy sessions. Robert was committed to bringing his son for his bi-weekly therapy appointments, which he never missed. He also learned how to conduct basic therapy exercises at home, which he did diligently with the help of his wife. Weeks of regular therapy later, Samuel is now walking and the joy on his parent’s face cannot be hidden. As he continues to attend therapy sessions at the hub, his main focus now is to develop speech which he shall achieve in due time as assured by the Tunza Program team.