By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty
Cuttack: “Sir, I want to go to college. I want to continue my studies. I want to support my poor family, which is fighting every single day and night to ensure food and medicine for us,” said Mousumi, a stammer unmistakable in her voice.
Like everyone, Mousumi also dreams of a good future. She wants to become a police officer and help out her family to fight poverty. But what distinguishes her from her peers is that unlike other boys and girls of her age, she is not ‘normal’.
The girl who appeared in the recently concluded matriculation examination cannot speak properly as she suffers from craniofacial microsomia. She can barely hear either as she has problems in the construction of her ears.
Mousumi Swain, the youngest daughter of Abhaya Kumar Swain and Sanjukta Swain, lives in a rented house at Sikharpur area. While her father Abhaya runs a small tea shop in the local market, her mother prepares nimiki and roams from one shop to another to earn some money for the treatment of her daughter.
“I have two daughters and a son. My elder daughter and son have no health problems. But Mosumi, the youngest one, is suffering from craniofacial microsomia since her birth. We are unable to provide for her surgery due to our poor financial condition,” said Sanjukta, tears rolling down her cheek.
“I earn Rs 5, 000 while my husband makes no more than Rs 6,000 per month. We have to spend Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 just on her medicines; the rest is not enough to run a family of four members with a huge loan burden,” Sanjukta told odishatv.in.
“My daughter used to live only on chhatua which is provided free at anganwadis. But, now a days, anganwadi officials refuse to give it to her. My daughter is not getting any government assistance even though she has a handicap certificate.”
Sharing her struggle in the treatment of Mousumi, Sanjukta said, “At first, I took my daughter to a private hospital for treatment. But when the hospital authorities told me they will charge Rs 1.5 lakh for the surgery I did not know what to do. I was left with no option but to move from one relative to another to arrange some money for the treatment. But all my efforts went in vain as no one was ready to help me out,” Sanjukta said. “Finding no other option, I went to SCB Medical and College hospital. But the scene was the same there. No one came forward to help my daughter,” she rued.
“Once I went to SCB medical college with my daughter to meet a doctor. I had only Rs 50 with me. I paid Rs 40 to the auto rickshaw driver as fare and was left with only Rs 10. While returning in the evening, my daughter asked me for a biscuit packet as she was hungry. But I could not provide her even that. I could not even offer her a water pouch as I had no money left with me to pay for the fare to return home.”
“One month ago, I and my husband met the district collector and brought the issue to his notice. The collector promised to provide free treatment to my daughter at the government-run hospital. The collector wrote a letter to the hospital authorities and assured us to provide us Rs 1.5 lakh from the Odisha state treatment fund,” Sanjukta revealed.
“After the intervention of the collector, the medical authorities have asked me to admit my daughter at the hospital on May 17. If the government aid is not sufficient for the treatment of my daughter, I am ready to sell one of my kidneys,” Sanjukta stated.
Meanwhile, smile has managed to find a place on the lips of Mousumi after the assurance form the district administration to provide her free treatment. She is confident now that she will finally be cured of her prolonged abnormality. She will go to college with a new look and live her all dreams to the fullest.