End of Year Publication Stories
I met Kenny* over two months ago,” said Daniel, a speech and language therapist at Hope Speaks. “He came in the therapy room with his grandmother and the she tried to explain the child's condition to me. She sounded so depressed at the time, but after our discussion, she was determined to do all the recommended exercises.” Kenny is an almost three-year-old boy who lives in the Nsambya slum of Kampala. He has cerebral palsy and seizures, which are now controlled by medication. After three weeks of therapy, Kenny was already making progress and formulating words. After Kenny fell sick, everyone worried he would regress on all his progress, but his grandmother remained hopeful and determined, continuing the exercises and therapies recommended by Hope Speaks therapists. Kenny is still able to form words, due to the hard work of his grandmother and therapists. Kenny’s grandmother, who earns her living selling fried nuts, always makes time for Kenny’s therapy sessions and is motivated to see Kenny improve. “When it comes to the child, he is willing to learn new things,” Daniel said. “He has always been up for every challenge brought to him by the therapist and even when he is sick, he still participates. As a therapist, you can’t ask for more than that.”
*Name changed to “Kenny” for privacy
From the taxi stage, Mutesi ties her 9-year-old son, Edwin, to her back to make the journey to his monthly therapy sessions in Katanga. Because Edwin is so tall, his head is almost at the same level as his mother’s when she is carrying him on her back. As she walks, she covers his head with a piece of cloth to protect him from the sun or rain, but more so to protect him from the people staring at him. Edwin was diagnosed with hydrocephalus; he cannot sit, walk, or support himself. “The first time I saw Edwin, he did not make any sound apart from crying,” said Villa, a social worker from Hope Speaks. “Later, after several therapy sessions, he started making sounds and his mother was very excited.” Edwin’s mother is a single parent who washes clothes for other families and does other small jobs to earn money to care for her two children. She is happy that she brought Edwin to Hope Speaks clinic because it has increased her ability to interact with Edwin. “I can tell that he is excited about something or happy from the sound he makes,” Mutesi said. “I can also tell when the he is not happy. This has helped me to interact more with my son and I am happy. I come closer and we chat. That makes my day.” Edwin has also benefited from Hope Speaks medical assistance program, which covered his hospital bills for recent visits.