All of ALTSO's 11 programs in 10 developing countries suffered some form of shut down due to COVID-19. The reality is, as slow as we feel that our reopening has and will continue to be, most of our programs have a much longer road ahead with limited access to PPE or new treatment options.
Our longtime partner in the Gulmi District of Nepal, Hope Disability Centere (HDC), is one of those such programs. It's founder and director, Ganga, is a bi-lateral amputee who grew up in a country with strong social stigmas towards persons with disabilities, never had an equal chance to succeed. But Ganga is perseverant, motivated, and strong. She begged her parents to send her to school. She overcame the bullying, the ostracization, and discrimination.
At age 16 Ganga met a kind hearted Kiwi traveling through Nepal. Taken by Ganga's strength and charisma, he arranged for Ganga to receive her first pair of prosthetic legs. In 2006, with the help of a group of New Zealanders, Ganga established Hope Disability Centre. We are proud to have partnered with HDC since 2009, helping to provide treatment and rehabilitative care to hundreds of children. See Ganga's personal video account of what hass been going on ovre the last sevaral months at HDC.
Director of Programs, A.J., recently checked-in with Ganga to talk about the ongoings at HDC. Nepal has been on a strict shutdown since March, given the severity of COVID-19 , making it difficult to treat our CoolKids in critical need of mobility aids. Just this last week Nepal reported the highest single-day COVID-19 fatalities.
Our wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs have reached Nepal, but until the shutdown is lifted patients will not be able to visit for fittings.
Until then, HDC is preparing for the day it can reopen its doors. Thanks to the support of donors and our COVID-19 reopening fund, we will be able to provide our programs with the PPE and sanitizing equipments needed to continue to safely provide mobility solutions.