John used to live with his parents in a house close to the beach in Tacloban. But the wind, and above all the water that came with Typhoon Haiyan, destroyed everything. One of their neighbors was washed away by the waves—never to be found. The whole family is traumatized.
“We’ve lost everything: our house and all our belongings,” says Ma.Lisma, John’s mother. “I’ve also lost my job. I was a teacher, but the school has been completely destroyed."
The loss of income has had a profound effect on John, 15, who was born with cerebral palsy. "He needs a lot of medical care that we can’t afford now,” she adds.
Ma.Lisma took John to a public hospital called EVRMC. The physical therapy room there was destroyed during the Typhoon, but Handicap International restocked it. There, John met two Handicap International physiotherapists who determined that hand orthotics would make a big difference for John. With misshapen hands and frequent spasms, he hadn't been able to hold anything. The orthesis will allow him to use his hands and correct his positioning.
“Making this orthesis is complex and expensive,” explains Henri, an occupational therapist. “The material must be warmed at 83 degrees, then put on the arm until it hardens and takes the exact form of the arm. John will be able to take off his orthesis whenever he wants to. This will change a lot for him: he will be able to hold things and to perform some daily activities. Handicap International will follow his situation. Every Tuesday and Friday, John will go to the hospital for a thorough check-up and physical therapy. His parents are also invited, so that they can see how to use the orthotics correctly.”