Lalu sits on her wheelchair in Bangladesh

Navigating narrow paths

Lalu was lying on a straw mat when our teams met her in October. Born with cerebral palsy, and forced to flee her home in Myanmar weeks before, she had no way to sit up and certainly couldn’t go outside.

Since August, nearly 700,000 Rohingyas like Lalu have crossed the Myanmar border for refuge in Bangladesh. They arrive exhausted, frightened, and in desperate need of basic aid, psychosocial support, and rehabilitation care.

“For Lalu, as for many refugees with a physical disability, the first difficulty in a camp is getting around,” explains Paola Valdettaro, Humanity & Inclusion’s head of mission in Bangladesh. The drainage of roads being almost nonexistent, refugees must dig canals and build bridges with sandbags, making it almost impossible for people with physical disabilities to travel.

Access to water points, health centers, schools, toilets, and other basic services is also a challenge. Sometimes refugees have to go to the other side of the camp just to get food.

Lalu met Humanity & Inclusion in October, and her situation changed within days. Thanks to support from our donors, Lalu is receiving physical therapy sessions that allow her to regain more and more mobility. She also has an armchair which allows her to sit up and move around with support.

It will take months of rehabilitation before Lalu can sit up properly and have enough strength in her arms to be able to move independently. In the meantime, her family cleared the entrance to their shelter by filling the holes in the ground and removing tree roots, so Lalu can go outside to feel the sun on her face and make new friends.

Thanks to you, Humanity & Inclusion has more than 300 staff working in Bangladesh to support the most vulnerable refugees with basic and specific aid, so that people with disabilities like Lalu can live in dignity.