Khem Bora is 21 years old and lives in Leudek Commune, Kohthom District. She lives with her parents, both farmers, and four other siblings. Bora was only three years old when she contracted polio. The polio was so severe that it weakened her legs to the point that she could no longer walk.
Bora’s father first brought her to VI Kien Khleang Center in 1999; both of her legs were paralyzed and contracted. The VI staff applied physiotherapy techniques and coaching exercises to develop and strengthen her leg muscles. Because she could not use her legs, she was provided with a wheelchair so that she could do daily living activities independently and could attend school. She was taught how to move in and out of her wheelchair independently. At first she could not believe that she was able to move around on her own, she was so used always being helped by a member of her family. She went home from the VI center very hopeful.
The community based rehabilitation (CBR) staff continued to follow up with her in her home to make sure that she was using the wheelchair properly. They also made sure that she was successfully integrating into school and was progressing in her studies. A school ramp was constructed to give her access to her classroom. VI also provided her with school materials because her family was very poor.
In 2006, Bora finished Grade 6. Her parents decided not to let her continue to Grade 7 as the high school was to far from her house. It was difficult for her to go alone and no family member could bring her to school. Through visits of our CBR staff, it was decided that she should attend a skills training course because she was a very committed and a bright student. In 2008, she was referred to a vocational training center. She finished her sewing training in December 2008 with a very good score. Everyone was so happy, now she had the chance to start becoming more independent.
In January 2009, Bora was provided with a sewing machine, cloth and other sewing tools. The training center provided her with a special chair, as she could not use her legs to move the wheels of the sewing machine. This chair allowed her to push the pedal with her hand.
Her family provided her with a small space in front of their house for her to sew. Her neighbors now come to her for their clothes. It was not that easy at first but because Bora was so committed, her garment business is now a huge success. On a good day she earns about $2. She hopes that her business will continue to grow and collect new customers.
Bora and her family would like to say thank you to Veterans International and its Donors.