CRP, or Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed, is a non-profit organization in Bangladesh. It was established in 1979 by Valery Taylor with a view to providing treatment & rehabilitation to patients with spinal cord injuries & diseases. CRP aims to meet the basic needs of its patients & also takes necessary initiatives that will ensure their future to be self-efficient. We, a team of seven, were sent to CRP with a mission to visit the center, donate equipments to the poor patients, raise awareness about it, & carry out a research on human-technology interaction there.Experience
One very satisfying fact about our CRP visit was that, none of the patients complained about the service that the center provides. Rather, they seemed much pleased to be in such a place. This, indeed, was something to feel happy about.
While talking with the donations officer of CRP, we came to know about a problem that CRP is facing at present. CRP is an organization that is totally dependent on donations from its friends & well-wishers. But in recent years, the amount of donations seems to be decreasing, which is very much worrying. Because without enough donations, the voluntary works of CRP may be greatly hampered.
In our project “ENLIGHTEN THE FUTURE”, we visited Mirpur and Savar Branch of “Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed” (CRP). We saw CRP’s activities on paralyzed persons closely and we talked with some of the patients also. From these, there are some points needed to be mentioned.
A paralyzed person has to pass his daily life within a bed or in a wheelchair. At first when a person receives injury by accidents like falling from trees, street accidents, brain stroke, getting hurt in construction work etc. in spinal cord he has to lie in his/her bed for at least 3-6 months as in most of the cases and sometimes these accidents also affect their brain for which they became mad as in the case of Mr. Alamgir of Manikganj.
These accidents come to the family as a bolt from the blue. These not only shatter all their hope in a second but also create a negative impact on their mind. Moreover when a person with broken dream lies continually on bed with no other activities, he thinks himself as a burden to his family though he can still be an enlightened person like well known scientist Stephen Hawking, Engr. Anil Bhowmic (Chief Engineer of Gonoshastho Kendra), Belayet Hossain (Section Officer at the National University of Bangladesh), Minu Akter (working in Publications Department of CRP) and many others.
So in order to keep their hope alive and to give them some kind of comfort CRP conducts recreational and training activities. We have also some proposals.
1. Some patients at CRP enjoy their time by playing indoor games like “ludu” to pass their time in the morning.
2. We also noticed that in the afternoon there is a one hour period when patients & the stuffs of CRP play different outdoor games like pillow throwing, Handball etc for refreshment of the children and other patients. One of the examples how much they enjoy is that the boy named Moinul did not want to talk with us at that time.
3. In CRP some paralyzed persons are mouth painters. We sold greeting cards and calendars painted by them. We had a plan to hold a day long program of mouth painting, game show at any Friday and take videos of it to make a short documentary film and upload it to YouTube or to arrange a film show with the art exhibition. These would not only create awareness among people but also give some enjoyment to paralyzed persons.
But due to time shortage and most importantly fund shortage we could not execute our plan. Though we cannot but someone can do this. So for the entertainment of patients we propose to hold this kind of program at least once in three months.
4. There are counselors in CRP. They extract information about patients’ mentality. Every man has some inborn qualities. So there are some patients who can sing or write poem. If they can be brought forward in front of other people then all will be inspired and their frustration, if not be diminished largely but surely at a small scale.
5. To take part in athletics, the immobile athlete will need a special wheel chair adapted for optimal performance on the track or special “legs”. The athlete Oscar Pretorius who runs with blade-like legs created quite a stir recently when he was allowed to take part in the Olympic Games held in Beijing in 2008. The argument against his inclusion was that he might have an advantage against the able-bodied runners. If that doesn’t prove that technology has made it possible for disabled people to do nearly everything able-bodied people can, nothing will. Sport won’t only help the disabled person to physically become stronger but also has many mental rewards.
6. Fishing is something nearly everyone with a disability can do. Again it can be done just for fun and entertainment or the disabled person can enter fishing competitions which we can arrange. People in wheel chairs with good upper body strength should be able to do it with very little or no help. There are many volunteers in most cities and towns who are available to assist disabled people with these activities. Again it has physical as well as mental rewards. In CRP there is a pond, so patients can enjoy fishing there.
1. Most of those suffering from spinal injuries are from poor backgrounds and work as manual laborers. Many patients at CRP will be unable to return to their previous employment after suffering paralysis. If a spinally injured person cannot earn a living to support his or her family, the physical and emotional rehabilitation at CRP will be of little value. To address this need CRP runs vocational training projects which aim to enable trainees to live financially independent lives.
CRP’s Madhab Memorial Vocational Training Institute works comprehensively in assessing the needs of a potential trainee, securing a place in an appropriate course and assisting with job placements on completion of the course. Courses currently offered are:
a) Certificate course in computer applications
b) Electronics repair
d) Shop Management
Post training follow-up is an important part of assessing the impact and continuous development of the program. This is done through home visits and by sending questionnaires by CRP.
2. Without this vocational training CRP has “APPROPRIATE PAPER TECHNOLOGY” unit which trains the patients at paper work to make handicrafts. Tania, Rima and others expressed their satisfaction in doing this work when we spoke to them. They think that it will help them in future to become a self independent person.
3. The paralyzed person can move with the help of wheel-chair generally. So it’s tough for them to do any long distance job. People can earn sitting at home through internet by doing data processing, data entry, web designing and many other works. CRP provides vocational training only on Microsoft Office and Photo editing.
So if they are trained in data entry, web designing which is a bit easier as computer course trainees have knowledge of photoshop etc then they can browse through websites like freelancer.com and other to earn easily and become self independent.
4. After taking training in CRP many paralyzed persons work in garments or do tailoring works at home. So if they can sell their products by mobile through software which directly interacts with internet and alert them about possible buyers then it can be a helpful one for them.
1. The most common complication of the patients admitted to CRP is the prevalence of pressure sores which are areas of injured skin and tissue, usually caused by sitting or lying in one position for too long. This reduces the blood supply to the skin and the tissues under the skin, causing tissue to die and a wound to form.
We have learned that after about every 2 hours their positions have to be changed. As sensation of touch, pain and temperature is frequently impaired or absent in paralyzed people they need reminder and assistance from nurses or family members to change their position.
If a mobile application is developed in which a voice says “It’s time to change your position” after every 2 hours then patients will become aware by that sound and try to change his/her position with or without help and it may lessen their pain a little bit from sore.
2. We have already mentioned why we chose Md. Rezaul Karim ahead of others as in most of the cases patients especially children (aged up to 14 years) need long term help from donors. We provided a number of case studies. These cases can be the beginning of database and more cases will be added to it hopefully in the near future.
So if we can create an online database of people who need long term assistance, and pass it to rich soft minded people, then perhaps these disabled poor people can smile a little bit. As we have less knowledge on web hosting we cannot accomplish these. We wish that our idea will lead someone to do this great charitable work.
3. People who are paralyzed may soon be able to move a computer cursor, operate robotic arms or walk again, just by thinking about it. New technology called Brain Machine Interface is making it possible. Brain Machine Interface or BMI is a lot like using a wireless printer. Only, the computer that sends the message to an external device is your brain. It works like this — electrodes placed on the scalp read the energy level or voltage of simple thoughts — such as “move my left arm.” A computer then translates those brain waves or energy into action through a robotic arm, leg or even a synchronized computer cursor. “You want to build a system that can read their brain signals, interpret them, then activate a cursor or robotic arm or some very simple interface with the world,” De Sa (Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at UCSD) said.
This international project is now on the line to start in the near future. Hopefully our patients like Al-Amin can use this for his betterment in future.
4. The paralyzed persons are generally psychologically down. So in order to inspire them we propose a game using Brain Machine Interface technology. In this game a person have to pass each level of game by going through the life of an inspiring character. In this game, he needs to do what his doctor tells him to do in reality, & if he loses hope or fails then he will lose. So playing this game he will get entertainment and he will also become aware of the fact what he has to do to enlighten his future like the character in the game.
To conclude, it can be said that the role that CRP is playing in Bangladesh is worth so much. With co-operation from every sphere of society, enough donations & goodwill, this center can go a long way.
– This paper is prepared by the team: Jagori as a part of their assignment in Essence of Shadhinota: A challenge’11