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Julia is longing for a friend

Rehabilitation
Thailand

"My daughter Julia (8 years old) has no friends. Other children don’t like to play with her because she’s too slow," says Sue. "The Handicap International rehabilitation centre is the only place where she can play and be herself."

The Handicap International rehabilitation centre is the only place where Julia feels relaxed.

The Handicap International rehabilitation centre is the only place where Julia feels relaxed. | © W. Huyghe / Handicap International

When Julia was eight months old, she was diagnosed with Thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder that results in slow growth and an abnormal bone structure. For Julia, it was the beginning of a long series of monthly blood tests. The pattern of her strides is uneven as she walks and her movements are slow.

"She’s lonely," says Sue Mite Tar, her mother. "Other children avoid her because she’s no fun to play with. She’s too slow. Here, at the rehabilitation centre she can be herself and feel relaxed," she says, while she watches Julia play a fishing game. The little girl is extremely concentrated and gives her mother a big smile when she manages to catch a fish.

"We fled Myanmar nine years ago, just before Julia was born. I was completely upset and horrified by the idea to go and live in a refugee camp. But now I’m relieved we are here."

"Julia would have never had rehabilitation services of this quality in Myanmar. So now we’re making the best of it. I do some sewing to earn an income."

"The only thing we’re really missing are some friends for Julia."

Date published: 14/11/16

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