Arman’s new world is full of numbers and colours | Mission East

Arman’s new world is full of numbers and colours

Arman with very colourful toys

"It was a tremendous feeling of powerlessness that washed over me when I first met ten-year-old Arman and his family and listened to their story. To see how such suffering can destroy an entire family’s life… it is hard to witness," says Kim Hartzner, Managing Director of Mission East.

Arman was born with his umbilical cord around his neck and almost suffocated. Later he got an inflammation in the navel, and pneumonia. Yet he didn’t go to the hospital in the first three months of his life. The family couldn’t afford it.

Arman’s father left them seven years ago, and now the five family members live in a one room apartment. All they have is Arman’s disability pension and the grandmother’s pension with a total income of just 150 euros a month. Not enough to go round, especially with food prices rising rapidly.

Arman’s mother, Alvard would really like to find a job. But she hasno education, and this makes it very difficult.

Can’t tell blue from green
Alvard has sold some of the household appliances to get the most essential help for her son. But due to lack of treatment, Arman is very aggressive and easily gets into a fight. Both at home and at school he is difficult to handle. Because of his behaviour and disability Arman has always been seen as someone incapable of doing anything in life.

"Probably, no one has ever taken the time to do something for him. No one has taken him seriously, taught him the difference between red, green and yellow and taught him how to count to 1,2,3…," says Kim Hartzner.

"Arman is a victim. A victim of an archaic way of thinking, which has immediately condemmed him as a human being. Just because he is not like all the others."

For almost half a year now Arman has been going to the Child Development and Rehabilitation Centre, that Mission East has established. At the centre he is given support by psychologists and behavioural experts to ease his aggression. And perhaps very soon the ten-year-old will also be able to count and know the difference between the colours. Arman is about to start a new adventure in life.

From the Mission East magazine, Autumn 2008

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