VELLORE: Day one of the three-day Rehab Mela 2015 at the Dr Mary Verghese Institute of Rehabilitation attached to the Christian Medical College saw over 200 paraplegics (persons suffering disability due to spinal cord injuries) participating along with their caretakers and family members from across the State on Friday.
Dr George Tharion, head, department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, said that the special mela was aimed at catering to the needs of the disabled with spinal cord injuries. The first mela was held in 1994 and since then, for the past 22 years, the mela has transformed into a big platform for meeting, exchanging information and spending time as a social gathering.
The paraplegics also get an opportunity to be in an environment that gives them a window to the outer world. The mela also provides experts the chance to review the patients’ physical, social, vocational and psychological status, so as to better their living conditions.
This year, a team of 20 doctors would screen the paraplegics on various health parameters such as their bladder condition, eyes and improving their aids among others. A group of technicians would repair the aids, if needed. A large section of the students of CMC are also involved as volunteers to help the participants and their caretakers.
Wheelchair-bound Gopinath, a native of Salem in his twenties, said that he learned a lot by meeting people like him and their experiences.
“This mela is a source of inspiration for me. I take heart from the fact that many young and old people are braving so much difficulties to overcome challenges,” said 40-year-old Savitha, who had survived a suicide attempt after permanent disability in a freak accident near a construction site.
Tharion said the mela would also have indoor and outdoor games, sports and cultural activities for the participants to spend time with others. This year’s schedule includes wheelchair dance, singing, poetry recital, fancy dress, one minute speech competitions besides racing, ball blowing and carom.