Friday, November 16, 2012

Hero Mothers

A couple weeks ago we had the chance to give two wheelchairs to boys whose mothers are part of an organization in Taraz called Hero Mothers.  Today, I had the chance to visit the place where they spend most of their days.  Hero Mothers is a group of mothers of children with disabilities (the ones I saw today all had CP).  In society's eyes, these children don't have very bright futures.  However, as one mother described to me in English "we see our children's future as a smiling future."  These mothers have come together and created a center where they meet each day to do exercises with their children.

The exciting thing is to hear how they got where they are.  They asked the government for a couple rooms in an empty building in order to meet together and set up an exercise room for their kids.  The government has allowed them to use the building temporarily.  They have since requested more rooms and have four rooms.  In one room, the youngest children and their mothers do exercises.  In a second room they have equipment set up for the older children to work on.  Most of this equipment has been made from things they found at home.  The third and fourth room are currently empty.  They want to turn them into a physical fitness room (with weights and exercise machines) and a classroom where the mothers can take turns giving classes to the children.  They are hoping that as they continue to increase their work, the government will actually give them the building for good.  

Parents have to pay to use the center on a monthly basis, about $500 a month.  They have hired a therapist from Almaty who has been working with the kids for half a year.  She teaches the mothers which exercises they need to do with their children.  The mothers are not looking for a quick fix, unlike so many mothers of children with CP here.  Instead they realize they need to keep up these exercises regularly.  

What encourages me the most is these mothers are determined to build a bright future for their children. They are reading and researching and trying to do what is best for their children.  However, they are doing this together, not alone.  I love seeing them work together and encourage each other.  Unlike most people I have seen with children who are hurting here in Kazakhstan, today I saw parents and children with smiles on their faces.  These children are loved and these parents have chosen to fight for a better life.  These mothers really are heros!

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