A Mother's Painful Fight
Cramped in a corner of her room in the densely populated suburb of Sakubva in Mutare, a mother reflects on her son's life.
For the past decade, Eugenia Hamani (40), takes two hourly turns and cares for her twelve-year-old son Effort ,It is the same thing everyday waking up early morning changing him, dressing,feeding and giving physio therapy because of his condition of cerebral palsy and epileptic seizures.
Her child's routine has not changed susbstanially for twelve
Cerebral palsy is a condition that causes physical disability in human development.
It is a group of non-progressive, non-contagious conditions, caused by brain damage before birth or during infancy, characterized by impairment of muscular coordination.
Smartly dressed in his red and white outfit,Effort has chubby cheeks that one can never forget,how they dimple when he is smiles.
An infectious smile that ignites inner joy in all who see.
Hamani still vaguely recalls how it all started, with short-lived celebrations of her birth.
"Muddle headed,it was a flash of many questions and feelings arose within me.After two hours of brutal pain, being told my child had a condition, my heart felt like it was exploding within my chest l had to accept fate.
"My first experience with my child was hellish,l was unable to accept my condition because of the names and connotations l received from society and relatives said, silent tears trickling down her cheeks.
It was more than crying,it was the kind of dry torturing sobs that comes from a person drained of all hope but had to fight for her child's survival.
Hamani is not alone in the struggles of persecution and rejection from society and family. It must
have been bravery and love which has kept her going.
According to a study by National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped, Zimbabwe has 15,000 people living with disability.
Hamani has found solace in care groups and finding other women like her.
"Effort is a special gift from God,he can communicate in a fashion by laughing, crying and smilling."
Her story is a mirror of tales of other women with children leaving with disabilities suffer in communities.As a result,some women even hide their children away from society and deprive them of basic rights.
"The truth is that it's incredibly tough to have a child with a special need,it is a 24/7 job and l have become selfless because there is nothing l can do but live for my child. "
Often people talk about social inclusion and have failed to unpack what it means for the minority groups like people living with disability
According to the United Nations, people living with disability constitute the largest minority group, adding up to about one billion people globally.
"We live in a one roomed house,it is not enough because l do physio exercise but limited to the boarders of the walls of the spacious room ."
Having no job to sustain the daily needs of Effort, Hamani has faced a lot challenges.
"I now have a debt to Mutare municipality which amounts to over $1500 because of rentals”
The passing away of Hamani's husband soon after the birth of Effort was devastating.
Death came to her with the slow rattling gasps,the figure of a man supporting her each day still haunts and scratches her soul.
“Before my husband's death l had all the support to take of my son,now l can nolonger afford the special food and diapers for my son.”
Hamani has a double tragedy because even if she gets a job she will need to get a specialist to take care of Effort and because of her bond effort will require special attention periodically.
According to the Convention on the Rights of the Children states that all children have rights,including those living with disabilities as mentioned under Article 23 which state that “States parties recognise that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full decent life,in conditions which ensure dignity,promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community.”
"I have once received money from Social Welfare and l was able to buy drugs and diapers but the help was not consistent."
Hamani earns living through her small business.
"l sell chips,sweets and maputi just outside my doorstep the little money l earn caters for my child's special food."
More often than not, society casts a blind eye on parents with children living with disabilities who are failing to make ends meet especial with the harsh economic environment.
For now, Hamani's hope hangs on a thread, she continues to fight to feed her son as she prays for reprieve.