A young girl named Sreyka shades her eyes while sitting on a bicycle in Cambodia
Cambodia

Sreyka recovers from car accident that took her leg

Sreyka was walking home from school in May 2019 when she was hit by a speeding driver and had to have her left leg amputated. She's returned to school after Humanity & Inclusion fitted her with a prosthesis.

Sreyka, 8, was skipping along the road after school when she was knocked down by a large speeding vehicle just 55 yards from her home. Seriously injured, she was rushed to a nearby health center and then to the nearest hospital, which lacked the equipment needed to treat her. Sreyka was taken to a pediatric hospital in Cambodia's capital city, where her left leg was amputated to save her life.

Sreyka's family lives with her maternal grandparents in a village in the Tbong Khmum province. The family lives on a limited income, made by her father who works in construction. Sreyka’s mother takes care her, her 14-year-old sister and their home.

Putting her prosthesis to the test

Seven months after the accident, Sreyka visited Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation center in Kampong Cham, an hour from her village. The team of physical therapists and prosthetic technicians immediately took good care of her, providing her a custom-fit artificial leg and teaching her how to walk with it.

"I'm so happy that my daughter can walk to school again with her prosthesis and do so many things on her own," says Sreyka's mother. "She was really unhappy. And it was difficult for me too, because I had to carry her a lot and help her with everyday chores, lift her from room to room, and take her outside or to the toilet or bathroom. I am grateful to Humanity & Inclusion for their work because it means my daughter can be fitted with prostheses!"

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Sreyka and her mother visit the center regularly for adjustments and replacements of her artificial limb - she's already on her second prosthesis and will only need more as she grows! They also learn tips to care for Sreyka's stump. For instance, it's really important to change the girl's socks (on her stump) as often as possible. Her stump could become infected if they don't tend to it.

"In addition to regularly providing her with prostheses and teaching her to walk with her prostheses, the team at the rehabilitation center also does physical therapy exercises with Sreyka and gives her counseling,” explains Mr. Doung Chetha, the coordinator of Humanity & Inclusion’s Kampong Cham Rehabilitation Center.

A bit of a daredevil, Sreyka is putting her new leg to the test.

"I like to play with my friends at school, I pretend to be a ghost,” Sreyka says. “I always enjoyed running around the house with my cousins and friends. And now I can do what I love again! Sometimes I try to ride my bike and even skid in front of my grandparents' house.”

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Back to school

Sreyka is gradually overcoming the trauma of her accident. Her confidence is growing and she is engaging more with her family and friends.

When she first returned to school, the second grader felt shy at first and wore long skirts to hide her legs, but now she wears the same uniform as her classmates. Sreyka has definitely taken to her new leg.

"My school is quite far away, a half-mile from home, but I often walk there. I really like school,” Sreyka says with a beautiful smile, adding that her favorite subject is Khmer, Cambodia’s primary language. 

When she grows up, Sreyka hopes to train to make orthotics and prosthetics.

The Humanity & Inclusion team in Kampong Cham is right to be proud of her!

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Header image: A young girl named Sreyka shades her eyes while sitting on a bicycle in Cambodia. She is wearing a prosthetic leg. Copyright: Stephen Rae/HI, 2020
Inline image: Sreyka sits at her school desk, smiling as she raises her hand during class in Cambodia. Copyright: Stephen Rae/HI, 2020