We provide essential services to people with disabilities living in both urban communities and remote islands all around Vanuatu.
Our clients have a range of impairments including physical, hearing, speech, intellectual and cerebral palsy. Many of our clients live in remote villages without running water or electricity and have limited access to healthcare services, medication or equipment.
Meet some of our clients
Anna, 7, suffered severe burns to her legs from an accidental candle fire when she was a baby. She is unable to walk as she lost her toes in the fire and her legs contracted as the burns healed. VSDP arranged for Anna to receive surgery in Sydney in 2008 and we’re currently organising additional treatment overseas that isn’t possible in Vanuatu. Anna moves around her community, Blacksands outside of Port Vila, in a wheelchair provided by VSDP. She has a scholarship to attend the school Pikinini Playtime in Malapoa.
When we first met Joshua he couldn’t stand up by himself, talk or recognise his own name. He became sick soon after he was born and now his brain works slowly. Since he started attending our Early Intervention Pikinini Group, seven-year-old Joshua has come a long way. He travels to the class four mornings a week from the village of Mele Maat, just outside of Port Vila, courtesy of a free bus. He can now stand up by himself and walk by holding his mum Edna’s hand. We hope he’ll be walking independently soon. “I always wanted him to go to school so much but before I thought he would never be able to,” Edna says.
Three-year-old Melanie has a developmental delay and couldn’t stand-up on her own when VSDP fieldworker Tom met her at the village of Lelepa landing in West Efate. Now she’s building up her strength with the help of this playpen built by Mum and Dad on Tom’s advice. VSDP has also given her a program of muscle strengthening exercises. If she keeps up the good work, Melanie will be walking soon!
Meitea, 36, from the island of Futuna was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when she was around 12 years old. The disease stopped her from attending school because it weakens the musculoskeletal system and restricts movement. Last year, Meitea stopped being able to walk and was spending all her time inside her bedroom in Port Vila’s overcrowded urban slum area Seaside. The VSDP recently gave her a wheelchair made possible through a grant from the Australian Government’s Direct Aid Program.
Esther, 9, was born with the medical condition hydrocephalus which causes a build-up of fluid on the brain and a progressive enlargement of the head. Mum is dedicated to looking after her and takes around her village Saama on the island of Efate in a stroller provided by VSDP.
Eight-year-old Kiki from the village of Epau on Efate, has dyskinetic cerebral palsy that makes his body move outside of his control. His cognitive skills are great and he’s learning to stand-up with the help of a standing frame provided by VSDP. Kiki can current stand-up by himself while leaning on a table for support. Our fieldworkers have given him and his family a program of exercises to continue developing his muscle strength and build up more control of his body.
Jallan loves having his picture taken and talking with our fieldworkers when they come to visit him. He struggles to control his body because of his hydrocephalus but is very smart and can now stand up by himself. We’re working with his family on helping Jallan learn to walk by supporting his back or holding his hands. Jallan also gets around his community in Blacksands, outside of Port Vila, by being pushed by friends and family members in a wheelchair from VSDP.