Standing Frames for Children – We mostly don’t think twice about being able to walk (or see or hear) and we tend to take these privileges for granted.
Young parents look forward to, and often record, every milestone in their young children’s lives. Not all children, however, have the privilege of being able to stand, let alone walk. Occupational – and physiotherapists work hard at therapeutic sessions at rehab centres throughout the country (and also in Piet Retief) to assist these unfortunate children. A frame was designed by a physiotherapist which can be used to strengthen the legs and build the bone density of such children, in order to improve inter alia posture and hip alignment so that some of them can eventually even start walking. Two years ago three therapists (two occupational therapists and one physiotherapist) started an NGO company, Sukumani Dream (Please, make the effort of peeping at their FB page and reading about their efforts countrywide). Sukumani is the siSwati word for stand and the organisation’s dream is that all these disabled children will be able to at least stand.
The three women got permission to use the therapist’s design/ concept and started having the frames manufactured in Johannesburg by Service Products ( a sheltered employment factory of the Department of Labour), where disabled people put it all together. No profit is made when manufacturing the frames at a cost of at least R850 each. The frames are rather big and to transport them from Johannesburg to other rehabilitation centres, such as at the Piet Retief Hospital, poses certain problems. Selvyn Niebuhr recently came to the rescue though. On 18 November he sponsored the project by supplying his truck, bakkie and diesel for collecting frames in Johannesburg after which they were dropped off at the Ermelo Hospital (for Ermelo, Carolina and Bethal) and the Piet Retief Hospital (for Majuba Hospital in Volksrust and Piet Retief). Local therapists accompanied the team who fetched and dropped off the frames.
The height of every section of such a frame as well as the position of the supports, are adjusted to suit each patient’s own body and is adjusted continuously as the child grows. At first, short periods of time are spent in the frame, but the ideal is to “stand” for at least two hours per day, to have the desired outcome. Thank you, Sukumani Dream Service Products, Selvyn Niebuhr and team and last but not the least, the therapists at the Piet Retief Hospital for putting so much effort into helping these young ones, also from our area, improving their lives. May Sukumani Dream’s dream come true!