|It was in this scenario that Swasraya Training and Rehabilitation
centre was born in 2000 as the brainchild of Reji Abraham, himself a paraplegic
for life. Reji had a terrible accident, which shattered his spinal chord
at T12 level. For four long months he underwent Physiotherapy and Training
at the Christian Medical College, Vellore. Today, he takes care of all his
personal needs, has a busy social life, travels around driving his specially-
adjusted car, and as Administrative Manager of the Centre, and manages the
day-to-day affairs of the institution.
|Swasraya Training & Rehabilitation
Centre is managed by a registered Charitable Trust (No.71/IV/01) headed
by His Grace Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius, Metropilitan, Kandanad East
Diocese of the Orthodox Syrian church. The centre is located in a
1.5 acre scenic land at Vettickal near Mulanthuruthy,20km from kochi.
Construction is in brisk Progress for a three-storey complex including
cellar with a floor area of 30,000sq.ft.This is for accommodation
of patients under training and their attendants, exercise rooms, workshops,
display room, kitchen, dining hall, dormitories, recreation hall,
library, sales department etc. The complex is designed in such a way
that the trainees could reach any place in the complex on wheelchairs.
|Construction of more than half the main
building has been completed, a chapel with parsonage renovated and
Holy Mass is being celebrated regularly. The estimated cost on building
the complex is Rs Two crores and the equipment for training, Instruments,
Furniture, kitchen Utensils, interior settings, vehicles etc will
require Rs One crore.
|A lesion of the spinal cord usually causes paraplegia;
its extent is governed by the position and magnitude of the lesion. Complete
severance of the spinal cord will lead to total paralysis of the legs and
fecal and urinary INCONTINENCE. Lesser damage may affect the legs and leave
the bladder and rectum function unimpaired. Recovery will sometimes take
place if the damage to the cord is minimal, but lifelong paralysis is more
often the result.
|Care of the paraplegic patient should be designed to
relieve the symptoms often associated with paralysis, such as pressure sores
and urinary infection. As soon as possible a program of physical therapy
and retraining should be started – if necessary, in a special center
devoted to the care of paraplegics. The provision of special equipment will
greatly ease the problems of incontinence and immobility. Many paraplegics,
although confined to wheelchairs, live active and useful life.
|---Good Housekeeping Family Health &
Medical Guide, Hearst Books, New York, P.450.
|Various systems of medical treatment were tried but nothing
could bring him back to normalcy. As a final attempt he was taken to Christian
Medical College Hospital, Vellore (Tamil Nadu) where the doctors
told him frankly that he could never recover from the total paralysis of
the lower half of his body. But they instilled in him enough confidence
to face the grim reality. Medical counseling and physiotherapic treatment
he received at C.M.C., Vellore enabled him to become a self-supportive,
self-reliant person. His deep faith in God, cheerful nature, optimistic
attitude and the strong support of his family and friends helped him brave
the situation with an iron will. Now he manages his workshop and attends
to all his personal needs including cooking, washing, sitting in his wheel
chair etc. He drives his car with hand controlled brake and accelerator.
It has always been his strong wish to do something substantial for the paraplegics
like himself and it is from this desire that the idea of establishing a
rehabilitation and training centre for them blossomed in his mind. Finding
no way to materialize his desire, he kept it as a wild dream at the bottom
of his heart until he conveyed his plan to Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius, his
diocesan metropolitan. His Grace patiently listened to him and at the end
of their talk promised to help him in every possible way to make his dream
a reality. It marked the birth of ‘Swasraya’.