Struggling to keep up

2019-01-30 06:00
PHOTO: byrone athmanClaudette Maharaj and her niece Abigail, a Grade 5 pupil who lives with cerebral palsy that mainly affects her legs.

PHOTO: byrone athmanClaudette Maharaj and her niece Abigail, a Grade 5 pupil who lives with cerebral palsy that mainly affects her legs.

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BORN with cerebral palsy mainly affecting her legs, Grade 5 pupil Abigail Maharaj’s life is a daily struggle. According to her aunt and care-taker, Abigail often falls as she tries to keep up with the other children while she manoeuvres through her school life and the playground.

After being abandoned only five months ago by her mother, Abigail is now in the care of her aunt because of her father’s incarceration.

Her aunt, Claudette Maharaj, said she refused to make her niece’s life any harder by allowing her and her two other siblings to fall into the care of the foster system while she has family alive.

“I could not bear to see them put into the child welfare system, so I look after them now, and while it is hard, I refuse to let them go uncared for,” said Maharaj.

Maharaj said that since Abigail has been in her care, she has seen how hard it is for her; that she cannot play and do things that normal children can do because of the cerebral palsy.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of funds, Abigail cannot go to a special school or afford proper shoes for her condition. “She falls almost every day because she cannot walk properly, and because of her condition she wears out her shoes very fast,” said Maharaj, who added that Abigail does get a specialised shoe fitting once a year from Grey’s Hospital, but this does not last very long.

Maharaj said that she is unable to collect a grant to provide extra money for Abigail and her two other siblings because they cannot track her mother down to sign the necessary documents, which makes it harder to provide for them.

Recently, Maharaj said that a parent saw Abigail fall onto the ground while she was picking her child up and, on further inspection, the parent saw Abigail’s condition and bought her a new pair of school shoes.

“It was such a touching act on behalf of that person and we are appreciative of the help,” said Maharaj. Abigail is in constant pain and, according to her aunt, cries a lot due to her condition, as she wants to be a normal child and play with other children.

The family have stated that they are open to any help from the public regarding Abigail’s condition, and are hopeful that one day she will be able to walk and play like a normal child.

For those looking to help Abigail, please contact her aunt, Claudette Maharaj, at 065 325 1949.


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