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Rifat's story

Rifat is two years old and lives in a remote village Baliadhighi, under Gabtoli a sub-district of Bogra in Bangladesh. Rifat’s mother had a difficult pregnancy and doctors wanted to admit her to hospital as they believed the baby was severely underweight. However the family could not afford the fees and Rifat was born at home with no medial support. His mother realised very quickly that Rifat wasn’t developing as his older brother had done and  he didn’t respond to her in the same way.

Rifat has virtually no sight or hearing and severe epilepsy which is thought to have been the cause of his deafblindness. His father is a labourer in the fields and the family survive on a small income. Rifat’s mother stays at home to care for him and his older brother.

Rifat has virtually no sight, hearing and has severe epilepsy - which is thought to have been the cause of his deafblindness. His father is a labourer in the fields and the family survive on a small income. Rifat’s mother stays at home to care for him and his older brother.

When he was one, Rifat was identified as deafblind during a survey carried out by Sense International. He was unable to support his head, respond to sensations or sounds and his epilepsy was not being treated. An educator began to work with the family and arranged for Rifat to received regular medication for his epilepsy. Although he still has three to four fits a day, this is a huge improvement for him. He has also received extensive physiotherapy and can sit up unaided and grip.

Although life remains difficult for Rifat and his family, they are now more optimistic for the future and they hope he will continue to improve and receive support.

First published: Friday 7 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 20 September 2017