Locals raise funds for better prosthetic

By Laurel Stowell

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SOLIDARITY: Saleshni Lata (left) and Vijeshwar Prasad (right) are helping Uday Narayan get back on his feet. PHOTO/BEVAN CONLEY
SOLIDARITY: Saleshni Lata (left) and Vijeshwar Prasad (right) are helping Uday Narayan get back on his feet. PHOTO/BEVAN CONLEY

In three months' time Fijian visitor Uday Narayan should be able to walk again - without crutches.

His left leg was amputated after an accident. The artificial leg he was given in Fiji weighs 5kg and he can't walk with it.

Finding out about that, Whanganui man Vijeshwar Prasad, Mr Narayan's sister Saleshni Lata, who lives in Whanganui, and the Multicultural Council of Rangitikei/Whanganui have raised money to buy him a better one.

Mr Narayan was working in a sugar cane plantation in 2011, trying to pull a cane truck on to a tractor. His trousers got caught in a pulley, which grabbed his leg, twisting it.

The tractor driver was able to reverse the pulley, but help was a long way away. Mr Narayan had to ring on his cellphone, and wait in pain.

Taken to a Fijian hospital, his leg was amputated above the knee, but the artificial leg he was given was too heavy to walk with. He spent the next years depressed, wanting to work but unable to.

There's no compensation for cane field accidents in Fiji, and no unemployment benefit. His children were bright and wanted to learn, but they had to leave school and work in the plantation to earn money.

Whanganui couple Pushpa and Vijeshwar Prasad visited Fiji in 2013 and met Mr Narayan.

"I saw him and then I felt sorry. Because we came to know about him, we were able to help him out," Mr Prasad said. He did some research, and discovered a lighter, better leg supplied in New Zealand would cost $15,000 to get and fit. He sent out letters to Multicultural Council members and Mr Narayan's friends and family, asking for money.

His sister, Miss Lata, a health care assistant at Summerset in the River City, raised money by selling Indian food at Diwali nights and cultural festivals.

With the money in his account she flew to Fiji and the two arrived back in New Zealand on 3 February. Mr Narayan is on a three-month medical visa and had never been in an aeroplane or out of Fiji before.

On Monday he was taken to Wellington to be measured for his new leg. Next come fittings, and physiotherapy, to make sure he can use it to walk. Mr Prasad said he would not be returning to Fiji until he is 100 per cent.

He wanted to thank all the people who have helped by donating money.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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