By: Ra’ed Al Nims
Ritaj Al Nahal was born three years ago in Rafah. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and delayed motor functions. Her parents were in great despair following her birth, especially when they realized their daughter can neither crawl nor sit and seems oblivious to the world around her.
When she was five months old, Ritaj’s mother brought her to the Society’s branch in Rafah where staff assessed her condition and devised an intensive treatment program especially for her.
Jihad Abed, Director of PRCS’ branch in Rafah, spoke to us about Ritaj: “Our approach to Ritaj’s condition was three-pronged and included physiotherapy, social therapy and rehabilitation. We provided Ritaj with treatment and engaged her in exercises appropriate for her age. Moreover, we offered guidance to her family and worked hard to stimulate the child’s brain”.
As for Ritaj’s mother, she said: “my daughter could not lift her head, sit up or concentrate on anything. I took her to PRCS where she took part in physiotherapy sessions for a full year. My daughter improved a lot and learned how to sit, lift her head, stand up and even take a few clumsy steps. This was more than I had hoped for at the time. Moreover, the guidance and advice provided by PRCS’ specialists helped me a lot and I could call the Society’s team anytime if needed”.
According to Abeer Al Zamli, physiotherapist, “the one-year physiotherapy program offered to Ritaj included exercises at both the PRCS’ center and the girl’s home. We began to see her condition improve gradually, and little by little she was able to move her head, roll over, sit and stand. Soon, she was able to walk and run and play with other children”.
Ritaj’s mother hugged her daughter. She smiled and said: “PRCS stood by my daughter. Ritaj used to be quite aggressive and introverted. Now, she seems to grasp what is happening around her. She responds to the voices of her father and brother and plays with them. When I call her name, she turns her head and comes running towards me. The smile never leaves her lovely face”.