Kamille, Karin and John are three of the close to one million children who had their lives improved by the Change Leaders supported by Reach for Change in 2014. Read their stories below.
Kamille’s way back
When my daughter Kamille was a baby she struggled with a dangerous infection. Eventually she overcame the infection, but it was too late, her brain was damaged. When Kamille was diagnosed with developmental disorder, our family completely lost its alance. Step by step, our despair changed into a determination to help Kamille. In Lithuania, the support system for children with special needs is poor. I decided to take matters into my own hands and founded Avevitus, a multi-functional therapy center offering low-cost treatment. After one year of intensive therapy, Kamille is now able to stand, walk and eat independently. She can attend school, and has even shown academic progress - this was ‘mission impossible’ only one year ago. Avevitus has changed Kamille’s life - and I will forever continue changing the lives of special children.
Ineta Baukien, Kamille’s mother, Change Leader in Lithuania, Founder of Avevitus
”My chat buddy helped me survive”
A while back 15-year-old Karin was sexually abused by a close relative. Life felt dark, and the future hopeless. A counselor supported Karin during school semesters, but during holidays Karin had to cope with the difficult thoughts by herself: “Last year I didn’t know how to find the strength to live through the summer vacation.”
A couple of days before the holidays began, Karin’s counselor encouraged her to try out foreningenstorasyster.se, a website where anyone who has been sexually abused or knows someone that has, is welcome to chat anonymously to receive support: “I am so happy that I tried out the chat, which connected me with my chat buddy. It is thanks to her that I made it through the summer and that I have started regaining faith in a brighter future. I honestly think that Föreningen Storasyster might have saved my life.”
Sanna Bergendahl, Change Leader in Sweden, Founder of Föreningen Storasyster
“All the pieces finally fell into place”
John lives with his mother in rural Tanzania: “For a long time my son didn’t speak. Many people in the local community thought he was deaf, but I always suspected it was something else. I had approached many experts to understand how I could help my boy, but it was not until I came in contact with Gabriella Children’s Rehab Center that all the pieces finally fell into place. John has autism.”
The center works to ensure that children with disabilities are diagnosed early and correctly, and are trained to become accepted members of the community. After one year in the center, John is able to speak in short sentences, sit calmly through class, recite the alphabet, count numbers, paint and do his own laundry. In addition, he has developed his social skills to the extent that he teases others, smiles and initiates play. John’s mother is ecstatic: “This is a true miracle.”
Brenda Shuma, Change Leader in Tanzania, Founder of Gabriella Children’s Rehab Center