It first began a long time ago, in May 2010, when plans for the construction of a safe therapeutic area for children and other patients with physical rehabilitative needs became a reality. Things shot off to a quick start with the construction of the roof and cement floor occurring within a month or so. In October, there was the Mural Project. Three vibrant young students with hearing impairments ventured to Takhmao from Epic Arts Kampot and worked with young people with disabilities here at the Centre to paint the amazing, bright wall mural that continues to capture the attention of all who enter the therapy area. Since then it has been slow and steady progress with more equipment gradually added to the floor area, and the wet season coming in and highlighting the need for small alterations to manage the water creeping in. This year was a particularly wet wet season, and we are really happy with how well the therapy area, given it’s open plan design, held up.
Finally, the area became ready for the safe rubber flooring to be laid. Fortunately, we were successful in receiving funds from the Direct Aid Program (DAP) at the Australian Embassy, to implement a project finishing off our building establishment and purchasing resources for the education and training of hospital staff and the community in physiotherapy and disability awareness.
Funds were received on the 21st October 2011 and laying of the floor began on the 26th. After a bumpy start, change in glues, cars breaking down, challenging lumps in the cement floor, workers being away, long lunches, late starts and varying shades of floor squares, we now have a wonderful, large, safe area for providing therapy for children and adults.
Money from a fundraising dinner held in Kadina, South Australia, Joanna’s (RCRC physiotherapist) hometown in early 2011, has been used to supplement the DAP funds to finish the floor area – we under-estimated the amount of rubber tiling required. These funds will also be used to tile the entrance, a cost not included in the grant proposal.
The flooring area has already proven a hit with the kids! In true Cambodian collective group therapy style, children flock into the Centre when we open the gate (funded by Kadina dinner), just to run around and play on this new, strange, soft but firm, rubber flooring, spontaneously rolling around on the floor. Fantastic for disability awareness, children and adults have been joining in on therapy sessions and getting some insight into life for those with disabilities and how they can play and join in activities too.
The flooring has created a safe environment for rehabilitation and therapy and has stimulated a great interest from the community and hospital in physiotherapy, disability and rehabilitation.
We have been invited by hospital Director, Dr Kong Chhunly, to present to hospital staff again on physiotherapy and its benefits and encourage referrals and integration of physiotherapy into the hospital system.
The development and progression of the physiotherapy area will continue – we are looking to build a storage room (we have no space for equipment such as standing frames, wheelchairs and other mobility/therapy aids), a waiting area, and will fix up the rough entrance. Many thanks to all donors, especially DAP (Australian Embassy) and the people of Kadina for these latest developments.