Transition to a New Life after a Spinal Cord Injury
Although over the past 50 years there has been much progress in India in giving SCI persons the appropriate skills and equipment to become active members of Indian society, the vast majority of us still do not have access to rehabilitation services that guide us towards our full potential. Our doctors and therapists often have never met someone who is living actively and independently with our condition, and will have little hope and guidance for us after our hospital discharge. Those of us with financial means will likely subject ourselves to dubious and unverified stem cell “treatments” and other fraudulent paralysis cures that abound throughout the country, or otherwise continue to believe that we will never become independent again. If we go home in the devastating wake of a spinal cord injury and cannot achieve functional independence, we will remain unemployed, a burden to our families, trapped in our own homes, and constantly at risk of death from preventable bedsores and other common secondary complications.
Download our most recent impact report here. We believe that peer mentoring and the sharing of experiences among spinal cord injured persons can transform lives, especially in communities where there is limited access to effective rehabilitation services. Additionally, we believe that peer mentors and medical professionals should collaborate to bring about transformational change for those with SCI seeking rehabilitation, fitness, and employment. ESCIP has repeatedly demonstrated successful independent-living outcomes for quadriplegics and paraplegics of most levels of injury by providing peer guidance within a transitional living setting, with minimal outside therapeutic intervention. ESCIP has focused on the following three initiatives:
Peer-Mentored Transitional Living and Training
The ESCIP House from 2013 – 2017 was an accessible apartment in Kailash Colony, New Delhi where two SCI residents stayed with a peer mentor for approximately a month, learning independent living skills in a home setting, and developing strategies for overcoming obstacles they have, and will face again, in their own homes. We are currently looking for a new location in the Delhi area. Our peer mentors, however, continue to provide training through online demonstration videos on independent living skills via a partnership with the Indian Head Injury Foundation (IHIF) and More Than Walking Incorporated in the U.S.A., and we continue to work with IHIF also to help provide wheelchairs to needy people with SCI.
Originally called “Murderball” by its Canadian inventors in the 1980s, wheelchair rugby is a full-contact team sport with armored wheelchairs on a basketball court. At the Paralympic level, it is played exclusively by quadriplegics. In 2008, ESCIP’s founders started India’s first team, the Delhi Warriors, which now holds practices in the Kailash Colony sports ground near the former ESCIP House. The team uses Facebook to share training methods with inclusive-sport advocates in other cities, and established the Wheelchair Rugby Federation of India in 2016.
Network of Support
Delhi is a national hub for SCI rehabilitation due to the presence of the Indian Spinal Injury Center and Indian Head Injury Foundation, and ESCIP is therefore able to engage newly-injured persons during mentor and resident visits to these centers and to invite them to be active contributors within our community. Our network consists of 25+ mentors who in turn are points of contact for hundreds of individuals around the country. When an urgent need arises, whether it is a local community member or a distant contact in need of assistance, ESCIP steps in as much as it can. Life-threatening bedsores, surgery fees, broken wheelchairs, job-placement support, and financial assistance for personal care attendants - these are all potential issues for members of our community that we take seriously and call upon our collective resources to address.