Jullay! I'm Jana, an Occupational Therapist (OT) from South Africa. Six months ago, I got married and my husband I and started a trip around the world. We are travelling for 18 months to a number
of different countries in Africa, Asia and South America, volunteering at different NGOs along the way. I have a special interest in children with disabilities, as well as hiking in beautiful
mountains, which is why I now find myself volunteering at REWA Ability Center (RAC) in Ladakh.
I have now been in Leh for two weeks and I'm starting to get used to the culture, the climate and the special children of RAC. The initial plan was to support the centre in Kargil, however the staff in Leh asked me to stay for a couple of weeks, as they haven't had a volunteer Occupational Therapist in many years. As an Occupational Therapist, my main focus for therapy is to assist children with disabilities to be as independent as possible in activities of daily living (ADL) such as dressing, eating, bathing, toileting, etc.
I am now in the process of helping the REWA staff set ADL specific goals for the children and providing training on OT related topics such as sensory integration, vision and ADL.. Together the staff and I are trying to revise the arts and craft groups by planning activities that will enable all the children to participate, no matter how small the contribution.
So far it has been an absolute pleasure working with a team that is so open to learning new things and passionate about their work! My favourite thing about RAC is that they don't focus on 'disability' but rather on 'ability', helping their children to feel as 'normal' and integrated as possible. They take the children on sight-seeing trips, to the play park, for movie nights at Shanti Stupa. They are even in the process of designing a wheelchair friendly ramp for a monastery, to make it more accessible for persons with disabilities. I can't wait to see what else RAC will get up to over the next few months!