Around 31 years ago, Jobeda Khatun suffered an accident at home and became permanently disabled.
With disability came difficulties and the 52-year-old Gazipur resident fought hard to overcome those. She did not lose hope, nor did the physicians helping her.
Over the years, treatment and training on life skills by dedicated physicians at Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) in Savar have given her a new life. Now, despite her disabilities, Jobeda can manage every necessary household chore by herself.
Not just her, hundreds of people with disabilities have similar stories to share as they too have been treated and trained by CRP and given a new lease of life.
With the motto, “I am CRP”, many of them gathered at CRP headquarters yesterday to celebrate its 40th founding anniversary. The centre organised a daylong event to mark the day.
The programmes included poetry recitation and musical performances. But the highlight of the event was performances by children with disabilities, who are receiving treatment at the centre.
Education Minister Dipu Moni; CRP founder Valerie Ann Taylor; its executive director Shafiqul-ul-Islam and media personalities, among others, attended the daylongevent.
In her opening speech, Valerie reminisced how she launched CRP in two store rooms of Shaheed Suhrawardy Hospital in Dhaka in 1979 with the help of some good souls.
“All we had was compassion... When our physicians and sisters start with asking a patient how he or she is, the patients feel 50 percent cured,” said Valerie, who has been working for over 50 years to empower people with disabilities through community-based services, advocacy and networking.
Describing the six core values of CRP -- sensitivity, compassion, respect, collaboration, commitment to excellence, and cleanliness -- she said skills are important but it cannot be effective without such values.
She expected that CRP will be remembered not only for surgical and nursing skills, but also for their ethics.
“[As practitioners], we cannot be noteworthy or helpful without greeting patients with a smile or talking to them. CRP has impacted hundreds of lives in a positive way,” she said.
She hoped that she would be able to pass on the baton to some compassionate souls who would carry on the responsibility with similar passion.
Speaking as chief guest at the event, Dipu Moni said, “We often hear that we are for each other… but Valerie is a glowing example of how much more could be done for others. Establishing a centre like CRP was not easy at all… but she never faltered.”
She inspires people to help others, Dipu Moni added.
The main event to celebrate CRP’s anniversary will be held on December 11. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi and Editor and Publisher of The Daily Star Mahfuz Anam will address the programme, among others.