World Health Day: Mai's story

by Sally-Anne Hurley | Apr 06, 2018

World Health Day (April 7) celebrates and acknowledges the importance of everybody having access to essential health services.

Since 2009, Caritas Australia has funded the Empowering People with Disabilities program. Run by the Sustainable Rural Development Centre (SRD) in Vietnam, thousands of people living with disabilities have accessed their vital services.

Here is a story from the program about Mai, a young girl from Vietnam, who has a disability. By having access to the right health services and support through the program, Mai has become stronger and more independent.

Mai's story

For the parents of six year old Mai, who has cerebral palsy, the Caritas Australia SRD partner program has granted new life-long possibilities and hope for the future.

Little Mai’s parents could only find work in a far off province, and were forced to give her to her grandmother for care. They hated being away, but had no other choice because of the demands of work.

Vietnam Programs Coordinator at Caritas Australia, Patrick Makenen, recently visited Mai and her family in Vietnam and spoke of their story.

“When Mai’s parents came home to visit, SRD heard their story and asked them to join the program. The training they received to raise livestock as a stable income has given them hope that they can now stay together and this has changed their lives,” Mr Makenen said.

Young Mai has also become stronger and more independent through the SRD program.

“Doctors have taught her parents’ home-based physiotherapy methods which over time has relaxed her muscles enough to be able to move,” Mr Makenen said.

“Before she could not lift her head and was completely bed-ridden but now she can move her hands and feet, sit up and even crawl!”

However it’s the sense of hope that the program has inspired, which has changed things more than anything for Mai and her parents.

“Through the “Club for People with Disabilities”, they’ve met other parents in the same situation to share experiences and learn from them. They are no longer alone,” Mr Makenen said.

“So much has changed for them in such a short period of time. For all of this, and for the support of Caritas Australia, they are very grateful.”

17 Comments

  1. 17 Shea 18 Apr
    Great story, great that caritas Australia change her family’s and her life for the better
  2. 16 Shea 18 Apr
    Great story, great that caritas Australia change her family’s and her life for the better
  3. 15 Padua College 19 Apr
    This story is beautiful, caritas are bring so many families together and helping so many people. Remember to keep donating ❤️
  4. 14 Padua College 19 Apr
    This story is beautiful, caritas are bring so many families together and helping so many people. Remember to keep donating ❤️
  5. 13 Padua College 19 Apr
    This story is beautiful, caritas are bring so many families together and helping so many people. Remember to keep donating ❤️
  6. 12 Tal 19 Apr
    I love Mai’s story. I love the work caritas has put in to help Mai’s life and her family.
  7. 11 Tal 19 Apr
    Great work caritas. I love the work you put in to better this little girls life.
  8. 10 Pdua college 20 Apr
    This is really insparatinal, I can't believe how much just a couple of dollars can do for someone in need. I really like Caritas they are reuniting so many families.
  9. 9 Lucy 25 Apr
    It’s so nice to see that caritas is helping many people and Mai can now move!
  10. 8 Dylan 29 Apr
    I am so happy For Mai and that her family are back together and that she able to do more because of the assistance Caritas has given her family. Thank you for all the good work that you have done and continue to do.
  11. 7 Nathan 30 Apr
    So glad that there is organisations like these who are always helping the disabled and the less fortunate. Very happy for Mai that she can now start to move more, and her parents must be so happy. Fantastic story
  12. 6 Shanel 30 Apr
    Well done Caritas, your changing lives everyday!!! It’s greast to see how much you care .
  13. 5 Nathan 30 Apr
    So glad that there are organisations like this who are able to help the disabled, poor and less fortunate. Very happy that Mai is now learning how to move her body more, and her parents would be so thankful. Fantastic story
  14. 4 Holly 01 May
    This story is so beautiful, caritas is doing such a great job at bringing families together and they help so many people in extreme poverty. Thankyou caritas for everything u do for the less fortunate people in the world. 💓💓💓
  15. 3 Padua 03 May
    It’s amazing that Caritas can do what they do with donations, and help families all around the world like this, and it goes to show that donations are being put to a good cause and things are starting to change.
  16. 2 Bob down 04 May
    Wow this inspired me to be a more thankful
  17. 1 Will 09 May
    This is great for this little girl may I hope she keeps improving with her condition and it’s great that Caritas is doing this I really love all the work caritas does.

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