Holding the rail inside PUSPADI Bali’s workshop, 13-year-old Yuktan tentatively taps the floor with his first prosthetic leg.
He presses down on his feet, moving his two legs up, down and slowly around in a circular motion to connect with a lower left limb that he thought he had lost forever after an accident.
A smile crosses Yuktan face as he gradually realises that he has been given a real chance to walk again and to go riding on his horse in Sumba.
Yuktan still has a long rehabilitation process ahead of him, as he learns how to function and use his prosthetic leg – which will take time, perseverance and commitment.
He is enjoying this moment though after a dark time when a motorbike crashed into his bicycle five years ago, which caused him to fall and hurt his leg.
His life was never the same.
The doctor who initially assessed Yuktan’s leg at the hospital didn’t think anything was wrong with it and wrapped it in a bandage and let him go home.
Soon after though, his mother became concerned when she saw her son’s lower leg had started to turn black and she again took him to another doctor to seek his advice.
The doctor began cutting through his bandage after seeing the spreading black colour and a build-up of bodily fluids on his injured leg.
However, the doctor drastically misjudged and while he was cutting he left numerous wounds as well as caused serious damage to Yuktan’s leg.
His leg was already severely infected and with the fresh cuts, his bone started to protrude through the skin.
“The doctor suggested that my son’s leg should be amputated but I didn’t want to do that straightaway, as I wanted to consider other options so he could keep his leg,” Welhelmina said.
“But then I could see that the bone was coming out of the skin, as well as the damage that the doctor had done, and we decided then that his lower leg had to be removed after a few years.”
It was a decision which weighed heavily on Yuktan and his mother’s mind about how he could lead a normal life and do the daily activities that he loved, like riding his beloved horse.
Welhelmina soon connected with The Sumba Foundation (a NGO committed to lessening the consequences of poverty on the island of Sumba), which provided her and her son with the support that they needed, like covering their expenses when they travelled to PUSPADI Bali to get a prosthetic leg for Yuktan.
When he came into our workshop, Selvia (our Prosthetics and Orthotics Supervisor) assessed Yuktan’s condition and then began making casts and later prosthetic legs to find the best one for him. “I spent two days to produce the prosthetic and ensured the prosthetic was the right fit and comfortable for him,” Selvia said.
“I’m so happy that he has received a new prosthetic and with time he will be able to walk with it properly after a long process for the rehabilitation.”
Yuktan’s story is tragic but unfortunately not an isolated one.
Many people with a disability in Indonesia continually face medical malpractice, abuse or discrimination because of a lack of highly skilled health professionals and other factors.
Compounding the problem is little understanding or respect for people with a disability’s rights, especially in impoverished areas where quality medical assistance isn’t often available.
Due to a lack of quality health services in many parts of Bali and wider Indonesia, it is not uncommon for families like Yuktan’s to seek assistance from untrained doctors because their options are limited.
Therefore, it is one of the many reasons why our Director Pak Latra, staff, and other NGOs are keen to see an inclusive disability rights law (PERDA) implemented in Bali and in more Indonesian provinces, so people with a disability have greater protection and rights.
It has been an incredibly difficult journey for Yuktan and his family but Puspadi Bali and The Sumba Foundation hope to provide a silver lining – by providing him with the prosthetics, rehabilitation and support that he needs so he has the best chance at a promising future.
Yuktan is now dreaming big again. “I like drawing and I want to become an architect one day,” he says.
The simple act of providing a prosthetic means that this little boy has hope that he can lead a normal life again and pursue his goals.
Want to join Yuktan on his journey? Sponsor his prosthetic today or donate by contacting us email@example.com or (+62) 361 464537.