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Children and staff gather to welcome Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso of Lesotho to the Ferrando Resource Centre Special School for the Disabled in Maputsoe, Lesotho. The Centre is run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and provides physiotherapy and rehabilitation care for children with disabilities. Reitumetsi Memane is one of the many beneficiaries of the Centre. Photo: The Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

For children with disabilities, early intervention can make an enormous difference in their lives. In the town of Maputsoe in northern Lesotho, and in 21 surrounding villages, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate are working to change attitudes to disability and are helping children with disabilities to live their lives to the fullest. The Fathers have received support from Misean Cara for the establishment of a special school and day-care centre.

When Reitumetsi Memane (Tumi), was two years old, she suffered a severe head injury after an accidental fall. She developed cerebral palsy and was unable to walk properly, having to crawl on her belly to move around. A speech impairment, brought on by the head injury, meant that Tumi could not communicate her needs for food and personal hygiene. She began attending the Ferrando Resource Centre in 2015 when she was three, being carried to school every day on her father’s shoulders.

Upon her admission to the Centre, she began to receive regular sessions in physiotherapy, speech therapy and training in toileting and feeding. After six months of dedicated effort, Tumi began to show signs of improvement. She acquired a few short expressions, and learned to move around on all fours. By the end of her first year at the school, her movement was much improved, and she was able to express her need for toileting, feeding, washing and brushing. Her development continued, and she was soon able to get up by herself and walk a few steps. Eventually she started to walk all by herself and to interact with other children. Today, Tumi attends school regularly, mingling easily with others.

While her speech impairment will take some more time to correct, she is on the right track to a much more fulfilling life. Says her father: “We are ever grateful to Ferrando Resource Centre Special School for the great difference they made in our daughter and to our lives. We wish one day that the Centre will have an early intervention facility where many more children are helped at an early stage.”