From Global Village Foundation – Bali:

A few days ago, the Global Village team were invited to visit, and assess, this young man in the village of Galiran, North Bali.
His name is Gede Surya, he is 23 years old. He is physically disabled. He lives with, and is cared for by his very loving family (Mum, Dad, his young brother, & two younger sisters). He cannot speak, yet he understands what is said, and he can make himself understood. He cannot walk, & he cannot feed himself, yet mentally he is all there. Because of the loving support he receives, he is clearly a happy young man despite his many physical challenges.

Gede was born a very healthy baby boy, but at a very bad time. It was December 1997, there was an avian flu pandemic sweeping through South East Asia. Primarily it was effecting birds only, however there had been some bird to human transmission. At 3 months old Gede developed a fever, and temperature. Being cautious, his parents took Gede to the hospital for a check-up. Nothing serious they were assured, however as a precaution the hospital recommended that Gede have a flu vaccine. Within minutes of the injection, Gede was having convulsions, and a medical emergency followed. He was to leave the hospital some days later with permanent physical damage. Was the vaccine responsible? After 23 years, who can say?

Today, on the 4th July, the GVF team delivered a new wheelchair to Gede, to replace the very basic one he has owned since childhood. Gede will now be able to join his family for all the major ceremonies happening in the village, so very important in Balinese culture, & something he has not been able to do for several years.

A very grateful thank you to MOBILITY WORLDWIDE, & thank you to everybody currently supporting the Global Village Foundation at this, the most difficult time in recent history. Without your support, we could not do anything. Thank you so very much. God bless you.

In the current climate where a ‘fast tracked’ universal vaccination is being much heralded as a panacea for all our current woes, Gede’s story is perhaps a cautionary tale for us all.

Please enjoy the short video. Gede was so pleased to receive the new wheelchair.