Imagine driving up an incredibly narrow, pitted road carved into a hillside and ascending hundreds of feet above the valley floor….
Now imagine that you step out of the car into another world, one that is totally separate from the hustle and bustle of nearby Kathmandu. Welcome to the quiet campus of the Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children (HRDC), run by 2011 Health Award Honoree Dr. Ashok Banskota.
Yesterday, co-founders Harry and Kay, celebrity ambassador Stephanie March and photographer Michael Crook spent the entire day at the HRDC with Dr. Banskota and his team. They visited the outpatient clinic and inpatient wards, and later stopped by the HRDC’s prosthetics workshop and other support facilities.
However, the most important part of their visit was meeting 150 children who have not only received treatment for their disability, but hope for the future.
“Almost all of the children seen at this facility could not walk or use their hands before treatment,” Harry said. “For the most part they ambulated by crawling. They were ostracized; they had no life and no hope. The treatments are difficult, but they make it thanks to this amazingly dedicated team from the HRDC and the support they received from the World of Children.”
Children come to the HRDC from all over the country to receive treatment for a wide variety of orthopedic disabilities. During the visit, Harry and Kay met one child who had an abnormality seen in only 1 in 250,000 live births. In cases like these, Dr. Banskota and his team often have to develop their own treatment protocols.
“I knew from our investigation before honoring Dr. Banskota in 2011 that the work would be transformative,” Harry said, “but I had no idea how thorough, modern, clean and holistic it would be.”
At the HRDC, every bed has clean sheets and scrubbed floors. Though many are going through difficult treatments, the children here are happy. They paint, make paper mache masks, and play on the outdoor swingsets.
“Most children in this situation would not be smiling,” Harry said. “There is pain and lots of it. But one young girl [that I met] now knows that she is in the final stages of her treatment and she will walk normally for the first time in her life.”
Dr. Banskota used his World of Children grant funding to provide treatment for 130 children with clubfoot. We can only imagine how many more young lives will be changed, tomorrow and in the years to come.