19 August 2019
New volunteer physiotherapist for PV
My name is Janie Robson and I am an experienced children’s physiotherapist from the UK. I live on the Suffolk/ Cambridgeshire border and am a member of High Street Church, Isleham Cambs.
I first worked in Uganda as a midwife in Community Health and Development with TEAR fund in 1983-1985 at Kagando Hospital. It was during this time that I came to understand how difficult life can be if you have a disability or have a child with a disability in Uganda. On return home I trained as a physiotherapist in Cambridge so that I would be able to return with skills that could help disabled children. I worked at Gahini Hospital in Rwanda with TEAR fund from 1989-1991, learning so much from Senior Physiotherapist Liz Hardinge. I returned home for a few years working in Community Paediatrics in Cambridgeshire and then went with TEAR fund to initiate a children’s Rehabilitation Project at Lamb Hospital in Bangladesh. I worked at Lamb for three and a half years and then returned to the UK to care for my elderly Mum, do a year’s foundation course at All Nations Christian College and an MSc in Community Disability Studies in developing countries. I worked in Community Paediatrics in the UK for several years before returning to Lamb Hospital with Interserve for 2 years in 2016.
I felt God burden my heart again for children with disabilities in Uganda. I long for them to know the truth of Isaiah 43 v 4 ‘ because you are precious and honoured in my sight and because I love you.’ I watched the video of Potter’s Village and briefly visited in October 2018 and feel that this where God wants me to use my therapy skills at this time. I arrived here two weeks ago as an associate missionary with CMS and am enjoying settling in.
Disabled Children at Potter’s Village
It was part of Jenny Green’s original vision that disabled children should be included in the work of Potter’s Village and thus a therapy room was built as part of the village. For the last two years a lovely Ugandan OT, Evis has been visiting from Rukingiri every 3 months to do a disabled children’s clinic here. At each visit she has seen over 50 children with a range of problems like club feet, hydrocephalus, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and developmental delay.
Therapy just once every 3 months is not enough for these children and I hope to be able to see them more regularly, work with their parents forming parent support groups that can provide encouragement and support, training and education around disability, mutual support and income generating projects. I hope to be training one or two staff in basic therapy and working closely with the local OT, Moses, at Kisoro Hospital. We also hope to be able to do home visits, mobile rehab clinics and awareness raising activities to target some of the rumours and beliefs that make these families so rejected, marginalised and excluded because of their disability. Often Mothers are told that it is their fault that their child has a disability; it is because of their sin or a curse, mothers in law encourage their sons to quickly take another wife instead of the mother with a disabled child and mothers can feel so despondent and depressed.
Alongside this work Nicci and I hope to do a developmental follow up clinic for the prem babies so that if a baby does have an emerging problem, we can identify it early and start therapy. I will also help with children in the medical centre who need physiotherapy as well as with the crisis centre children who show signs of developmental delay.
Please pray for us as this work begins that God would guide us in establishing a robust, sustainable programme that communicates HIS love to such vulnerable families. Pray for funding to make small pieces of equipment like chairs, standing frames and walkers and for the initial set up costs of equipping a small therapy department.