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Cheshire Ethiopia: Disability is not Inability


On October 25, Cordaid visited one of the rehabilitation centres built and administered by Cheshire Ethiopia (CE), at Menagesha, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

For the past 59 years, Cheshire Ethiopia has been positively impacting the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Its work has impacted individuals all over the country including the Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Harari, Oromia, SNNP, Sidama and Somali regions along with Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.

Cheshire Ethiopia promotes and works for inclusive education whereby children with different impairments can access education and equally participate in schools.

Cheshire Ethiopia has built its rehabilitation centre in Menagesha. This centre admits children affected by post-polio paralysis. Children with impairment like clubfoot, amputation, burn contracture and other types of bone deformities are also treated in the rehabilitation centre. It continues to work in creating opportunities for people with disabilities and breaking down barriers that deny these opportunities. In this centre, Cheshire Ethiopia is also engaged in the production of orthopaedic appliances, fitting services, physiotherapy treatment and related rehabilitation care education of clients as an income generating activity.

Prosthetic Orthotic Workshop in Menagesha
Image: Michael Behailu

Parallelly, having a rehabilitation centre which has a fully equipped prosthetic orthotic workshop which produces artificial limbs for amputees and mobility devices, has allowed Cheshire Ethiopia to work closely with different community-based rehabilitation programmes. In these community-based rehabilitation programmes, Cheshire Ethiopia works towards awareness creation. It delivers basic rehabilitation skills trainings for mothers and caregivers. Cheshire Ethiopia also gives home based rehabilitation services to assist children affected by different types of disabilities. Moreover, provision of basic business and vocational skills trainings for parents of children with disabilities is administered to equip them to be economically productive. It also provides physiotherapy and other rehabilitation services to people who have developmental disorders through referral linkages.

Cordaid Ethiopia was able to witness first-hand the incredible work Cheshire Ethiopia is doing during a recent visit to the Menagesha Rehabilitation centre. The centre has a capacity of 120 beds and is a national referral centre. They primarily admit children aged 5-18 years that are affected by post-polio paralysis and those children that have club- foot. The centre provides comprehensive pre- and post-operative boarding care along with physiotherapy, informal education, handicraft, hydrotherapy and mobility devices.

Physiotherapy room
Image: Michael Behailu

During our visit, we had the pleasure of meeting some of the children. We met 7-year-old Bayisa and 9-year-old Tamirat, who suffer from club foot and hypophosphatemic knee rickets respectively. Despite their physical disabilities, the support they receive from the Cheshire centre enables them to live as normally and fulfilled as possible. We saw them enjoying play time outside in the grass with the other children and attending classes. The Cheshire centre believes that education and recreation are a natural part of childhood, and vital to normal development.

As we celebrate international children’s day, we are promoting wonderful work of Cheshire Ethiopia. From changing the attitude of communities towards disability to assisting children with disability in building a normal life, Cheshire Ethiopia is doing an incredible work to tackle the difficulties faced by children with disabilities.

To donate or to know more about Cheshire Ethiopia and their work, please visit their website or call +251-11 646 6862/64