In 2016 we celebrated the 20th anniversary of SODA. This included 20 years of fundraising in Prince George and further afield to support the disability program in South India. We have accomplished much during this time, including the establishment of an Early Intervention Centre for young children with disability as well as the Spinal Cord Injury Unit to enable clients with spinal injuries to learn independence and undergo vocational training. Together we have helped to transform many lives.
In November SODA held another successful fundraising dinner at the Hart Crown Banquet Hall. As always, every cent raised, above the cost of the dinner, goes directly to help families with disability where SAMUHA works.
Hilary & Lesley, with husband Dennis, travelled to India later in November to spend time with Samuha. They were very impressed with all the progress there. The spinal cord injury unit has expanded from 5 to 15 clients for up to 3 months residential therapy. Two new disability workers have been trained for the unit and they are very keen and all the clients were working hard to develop their independence. The video of this program is available at www.samarthya.org
Andrea Mendoza, a physiotherapist and SODA Board member, spent 6 months with Samuha last Winter. She had 17 other resource people, including students and orthotic technicians, join her during this time to upgrade the skills of the team. They also updated Samuha’s training manuals. We saw the evidence of much of this work and the Early Intervention Centre was better organized with a separate room for early education.
The highlight of this trip was seeing several clients in their villages who Hilary had first met as infants with polio in the nineties. They are now adults and gainfully employed in their village either as tailors, tyre repair mechanics, pre-school teachers or village resource workers. The Government has a program where people with 75% disability are eligible for 3-wheeled motor-bikes. Several of these clients were now independently mobile on their vehicles, which was wonderful to see. Without our interventions these clients would still be crawling on the ground and begging on the street.
Samuha is so thankful to all our generous supporters for enabling their important work. SAMUHA and all the families we work with sincerely thank all our supporters for their generosity to enable this work to continue.
Warm Regards & Best Wishes for 2017,