Reaching out to the disabled

CNC reporting from New York
Added On June 8, 2013

The world has tens of millions of children who live with disabilities.

Unfortunately, not every one of them gets the help they need.

UNICEF and non-governmental organization Handicap International are trying to reach out to as many disabled children as possible.

Lifestyles has more.

Eight-year-old Meshak Batundi lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Meshak was paralyzed by poliomyelitis.

The disease maimed his feet and right hand. The unrest of the country had prevented him seeking for better treatment.

Before the organization reached out to him, Meshak didn't even have a wheelchair.

He lives in a camp where thousands of settlers inhabit. With very poor basic services, everyone is struggling to survive.

SOUNDBITE: ALINE VUMILIA, Meshak's aunt:
"The wheelchair Meshak has got is very important as it's very difficult for him to walk. He's also received an adapted toilet because his access to public latrines is difficult too."

UNICEF and Handicap International are distributing crutches, walking canes, adapted toilets and wheelchairs to disabled people like Meshak.

SOUNDBITE (French): ODETTE KATUNGO, Handicap International
"This distribution is useful because some people here walk on all fours. Here, we have a rocky soil. It hurts them when they walk. And they can't get access to latrines when they walk on all fours. That's why some will receive wheelchairs, others crutches depending on their disabilities, and others will receive adapted toilets."

Katungo said this will also help people spiritually.

SOUNDBITE (French): ODETTE KATUNGO, Handicap International
"This assistance heightens their dignity. A person who walks on all fours can't greet people; shake hands with people after walking in mud. Now that they are on their wheelchairs, their hands aren't dirty, and they can get together with people more easily".

Basic facilities like crutches and wheelchairs may not help improve their conditions, but it's still hope for people like Meshak, who have been living in despair for so long.