By SMITA SABHLOK
I can’t help but share SESTAA’s latest news with our committed supporters. As all of you are aware, SESTAA has been working tirelessly to improve the mobility and independence of disabled children in Assam.
We stepped into the new year, 2018, with the great news that the Australian Taxation Office has granted SESTAA Deductible Gift Recipient status which means that all donations over the amount of $2 are tax deductible. In other words, donate to SESTAA and claim a deduction in your tax return. Isn’t it great that before the end of the financial year, all of us can put SESTAA in our donations list for the year 2017-18?
On the 16th of December 2017, I joined the team of therapists from Shishu Sarothi, Guwahati and made the trip to Goalpara to visit SESTAA-funded Early Intervention Centre. Not very far from Guwahati and with a good road, it should have been a smooth trip. Sounds easy, not quite! For a distance of 139 km one way, even if there were no traffic jams, it would have been a 10 hours grueling day (6 hours travel time and 4 hours in the Centre). But it became more than a 15 hour day – the journey from Guwahati started at 6 am and the therapists would have been lucky to reach their respective homes by 10 pm that day.
Every weekend, the therapists are giving up their holiday and making this grueling trip to help the disabled children and parents who turn up at the Centre in Goalpara. They come from as far as Mankachar, Bongaigaon and other places, which are at distances of 150 -200 km away. Thirty-seven children attended on the day and the therapists had to work non-stop for five hours to be able to look after everyone and complete their work. It was not easy.
On top of that, parents (mostly mothers) had travelled by bus or any other mode of transport they could afford seeking help for their children. And there was not even a functional toilet for them to use in the Centre. The men ‘manage’, but no one knows or dared to ask what the women did. The therapists’ team had to make the compulsory halt at roadside hotels for the sake of the ladies in their group. Can we depend on your support to give them the facilities of a functional toilet?