Through Their Eyes

Rukia attends the day center at Pasua Parish. She is 13 years old and has been attending the day center program since BCC expanded to the Pasua Parish in 2008. Rukia was one of the first children served by BCC in the Pasua Parish.

When Rukia first started attending the program, she could not stand or feed herself. She was extremely malnourished because her family could not afford nutritious food. Due to her malnutrition, she could not feed herself and often became sick. Her father could not afford to provide healthcare for her when she became ill. She did not have a wheelchair, which she needed, so her father carried her everyday to and from the day center.

Rukia’s mother died before Rukia started attending BCC. Rukia now lives with her father in a multi-family home, which is shared with Rukia’s grandmother. Rukia’s father is a day laborer and makes less than the Tanzanian national income of $40 per month. While he is at work, he leaves Rukia in the care of the grandmother when the day center is not open. Rukia’s grandmother is not as kind to Rukia as her father is. Often the grandmother leaves Rukia in the courtyard for the entire day. Rukia does not have access to food or water until the father returns from his work.

Rukia was able to attend a week-long intensive program offered by BCC’s partner, CCBRT. She received necessary physical therapies and her father learned how to perform the physical therapies for Rukia. Also, Rukia is now able to receive nutritious meals from the BCC day center. Due to the nutrition increase, and the physical therapy that she receives, she is able to stand on her own. She has also recently learned how to feed herself.

BCC was able to purchase a wheelchair for her in 2009. She has grown too large for the initial wheelchair, so BCC will purchase her a wheelchair again this year. She will also receive a walker so that she can learn to be mobile on her own. Due to the increase in nutritious meals and her ability to feed herself, Rukia becomes sick less often. However, her father is still a day laborer and cannot afford to pay for healthcare when Rukia becomes ill.

It is because of situations like this that BCC is pursuing a preventative healthcare program. Through the program, Rukia will be able to see a medical student four times per year. She will receive a full health screening twice per year from a medical doctor. She will also receive yearly vision and dental check-ups. There may also be money available for Rukia to go to the doctor if she became sick in-between health screenings. We are very excited about the possibilities that Rukia will have with the preventative healthcare program.

Below you will find a photo of Rukia.

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