Sudha’s Story

Sudha is 11 years old and has cerebral palsy. Both of her parents are survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster. Studies have shown rates of cerebral palsy in the gas-affected areas of Bhopal are many times higher than elsewhere in the city, and Sudha’s condition is likely due to her parent’s exposure to heavy metals in the methyl isocyanate gas that burned their eyes and choked their lungs all those years ago. Sudha suffers from extreme muscle weakness, frequent involuntary movement in her limbs, and a scissoring pattern of the legs that prevented her learning to stand or walk. By the time she reached 6 years old she was still bedridden. Her mother Yashoda, desperate for help, brought her to the Chingari Rehabilitation Centre for assessment.

Chingari’s team of physiotherapists began working daily with Sudha, following a treatment plan designed to slowly strengthen her muscles and reduce involuntary movements. This would be a slow process due to the seriousness of her condition, but after several years of incredible hard work from Sudha, the day came when she was finally able to stand, beaming happily as she clung to Yashoda’s arm. Sudha has now been attending Chingari for 5 years.

Today, one year after this picture was taken, Sudha is able to walk with the support of a carer or a rollator. The tightness in her jaw has improved through regular speech therapy exercises, and while before she was completely silent, she is now able to babble, usually a pre-cursor to speech during infancy.

After spending years of her childhood unable to interact with other children, Sudha loves spending time at Chingari playing with her friends, as well as the clinic’s collection of toys.

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