In spite of polio Ganesh is standing on his “own two feet”
Maybe they were lurking in the latrines of the slum, where he was born. Or they stuck to dirty hands that stroked his face. Ganesh was just six months old when he was infected with the Poliovirus. Polio! He survived but both legs are deformed. With the help of our Indian partner AMG, Ganesh has been able to break the vicious circle of exclusion, dependence and suffering. A success story, to which wortundtat was able to contribute.
The background story: the family is desperately poor. His father, who works as an unskilled worker on a building site, does not earn enough to make ends meet. Ponnamanda Ganesh Babu – in short: Ganesh – is the eldest of three children. He can only crawl or move with the help of a board on wheels. Sometimes, he sits on the bare floor and waits for someone to pick him up and carry him somewhere else.
Just 30 years ago, each year 200,000 children were infected with Polio. Finally, nationwide vaccinations eradicated the virus. Today, the surviving victims are a common sight in the streets – also in the Federal State of Andhra Pradesh.
“Children like me”
Ganesh’s parents can neither read nor write. But they know: education is a way out of poverty. “One day, a pastor recommended a school to my mother, where also children like me were allowed to learn”, tells the young man, who now in 2019, is in his late thirties. Is this the chance of a better future for the paralysed boy? The mother takes it. She picks up 6-year Ganesh and takes him to the “Abode of Hope” – the home of hope of our Indian partner AMG. His first day at school means that he is also moving into a new home. The facility is only one of many educational institutions of AMG in Andhra Pradesh. “There were some children in my class, who were the same as me”, remembers Ganesh. “Whether healthy or not: everybody helped everybody.” The staff of AMG conveys Christian values. God loves everybody. Everybody is valuable! Ganesh feels comfortable. The rooms are spotless and the toilets have been cleaned. An extra helper has been allocated to 20 disabled children.
Living a self-determined life
Ganesh develops into a friendly and strong-willed man. At AMG, he enrols in vocational training courses and receives his “Master of Commerce” from Andhra Pradesh University. Today, his life is not determined by his disability. Thanks to AMG he knows: “I can live a self-determined life. This was my greatest wish. wortundtat has already helped many children like Ganesh “to stand on their own two feet”. Nowadays, he is working as a computer operator in the administration of the Ruth Deichmann Hospital in Visakhapatnam. He sends part of his salary to his parents. Of the three children, Ganesh is only one able to do this. The disabled son is the survival support of his parent: this is unusual in India and makes him proud.
“I want to go to heaven”
Of course he needs someone to help him occasionally, people who carry him on their shoulders. But he has friends. He also tells them about Jesus. “I believe in God, simply because it is right! I want to go to heaven” He was baptised five years ago.
What he is dying to say in our conversation: “You took care of me and looked after me! Most people in my situation are lifelong dependents of their parents. Thanks to AMG, I am able to do many things without any help. I live a life of independence and dignity. I am glad that I came to this place.”
Nowadays, Ganesh, who is to a certain degree restricted by Polio, largely lives independently and is able to support his parents financially.