Two years ago, the Bohora family was full of joy as they had a baby boy. Pradip Bohora was born to his family in Shikhar Municipality in Doti District. People in rural communities in Nepal believe that having a boy will bring prestige to the family. Pradip was born without any complications, but when he was five months old, his mother noticed there was something wrong with his right foot. This led the family on a journey of shame and then happiness as they found healing for Pradip.
Pradip’s family had five members and his parents were farmers. The family had to work hard to make a living. From their own fields, they hardly would have enough food for six months. This meant Pradip’s parents also had to work for others. His father even would go to India and work as a labourer there. His mother worked hard as a housewife and would also work in the village if she had time.
Pradip was a healthy baby, but when he was five months old his mother started to worry. Pradip’s right foot looked strange when his mother compared it to his left foot. The right foot seemed to curve to the inside and it didn’t look normal.
At this time, Pradip’s father was not at home but were in India for work. His mother called his father to share her concerns about Pradip’s foot. At the same time, community members started to talk about Pradip’s condition. They said that Pradip’s condition was due to sin from a previous life and it was a punishment.
Pradip’s mother listened to the different thing’s community members said and it made her feel depressed. She felt that it happened due to her fault or mistakes in a previous life.
Eventually Pradip’s father came back from India and helped to look for treatment. He found different traditional healers and they said that it happened due to mistakes done in their previous life. They also told them that Pradip could not be cured.
Not ready to give up, Pradip’s father went to the district hospital in search of treatment. Doctors there told the family it was possible to treat Pradip, but they could not do it there because they did not have the right doctors or facilities. They suggested that Pradip should go to Kathmandu for treatment.
Unfortunately, Pradip’s family didn’t have the money and they explained that it wasn’t possible for them. They asked about nearby treatment options. The doctors suggested visiting UMN-supported Disability Service Organisation (DSO), a local NGO working in the field of disability and rehabilitation in Doti.
Pradip’s father visited the DSO Doti office to share about the problem with his son. Staff at DSO suggested they bring Pradip to the disability screening camp organised by them. Pradip’s family brought him to the camp and the UMN Physiotherapist was able to assess Pradip and referred him for further treatment.
During the camp they noticed Pradip walk one or two steps or even stand with support. Pradip was diagnosed with club foot in his right foot.
From the camp, Pradip was referred to Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children (HRDC), a specialised hospital and rehabilitation centre for physically disabled children in Banepa. Pradip was given serial casting and a small operation during his treatment. He stayed in the hospital for 40 days and when he was discharged, he was given corrective shoes and instruction was given to his parents to do basic exercises with Pradips foot.
Today Pradip is wearing corrective shoes and his mother is doing regular exercises that were taught by a physiotherapist. His visible deformity in his right foot is improving and now he can stand independently and walk with corrective shoes. Pradip can walk in his house and in the nearby community.
Community members and traditional healers are amazed by what has happened to Pradip. Today they see him walking and playing with other children and they realise their assumptions were wrong. Now they believe that if people get the right information and treatment, they can heal birth deformities or problems.
Pradip’s parents are very happy because of this miracle they’ve seen happen with Pradip’s foot. They are thankful to DSO Doti and UMN for their support and help.
Story written by Sipora Mahoto, UMN Disability Project Officer, Doti)