Mehmet has cerebral palsy. He cannot walk, feed or express himself with spoken language.
Mehmet’s family are garbage pickers, a common occupation in Turkey for the poorest of the poor. Refusing to beg, they spend their days scavenging the city for food, digging through home and restaurant garbage.
Before Kardelen came to visit, Mehmet lived on the hard cement floor of their sparse brick hovel. He spent most of his day on a thin bed mat in the family’s little sitting and sleeping room.
Mehmet’s mother and grandmother were very sweet, but believed they had been cursed by God. Mehmet was their punishment, a “lump of flesh” they were burdened to take care of. There was nothing they could do for him which would improve his condition.
During weekly visits, our team diligently worked with the entire family, encouraging them and modeling good ways to care for Mehmet—with feeding, massage, exercise and communication tools. Our physical therapist showed them how to work carefully with Mehmet to increase his mobility and comfort.
As she watched his progress, Mehmet’s mother grew eager. She gladly accepted the donation of a special wheelchair designed for children with cerebral palsy. The chair radically changed their lives. Mehmet could experience the world beyond his sleeping mat!
“Look,” Mehmet’s mother told us. “His joints are so much less stiff. He doesn’t cry out any more when he’s in the chair, because it moves when he has a spasm. In fact, the spasms are a whole lot less frequent then they used to be.
“It used to be a nightmare to try to lift him into his old hospital-style chair, let alone any chair. He’d cry and fight and get worse. I’d just give up and leave him on the floor. Now he begs to be put in this chair and taken for outdoor walks. Even in the house, he now has a place to sit. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your love, your commitment to keep visiting all those months and this perfect wheelchair made it possible.”