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Beyond the Bougainvillea: Reflections on Disability and Rehabilitation

Author Name: Gillian Paterson & Sara Bhattacharji | Format: Hardcover | Genre : Biographies & Autobiographies | Other Details

What does it mean to be disabled? What gives people the courage to live with long-term disability or incapacity? Can any of us claim to be fully ‘abled’? And what is it that hurts most about being disabled? Is it the physical difficulties, or is it the isolation and stigma that often accompany them?

These are real questions. In search of answers, Beyond the Bougainvillea takes readers through the curtain of flowers that covers the front of the Rehabilitation Institute of the Christian Medical College, Vellore, in South India. There they are introduced to a community of patients and staff, therapists, researchers and relatives whose lives have been changed by the experience of disability and the challenges of rehabilitation.

This encounter is not for the faint-hearted. The experience of disability speaks to everyone seeking answers to the big questions that face all of us in the end: such as, what does it mean to be human? And how can we best accompany one another on the journey of life?

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Gillian Paterson & Sara Bhattacharji

Our authors are both academics: one a community physician from India and one a British theologian. A community health physician and a teacher, Dr Sara Bhattacharji trained and worked at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India. Her international consultancy work, which has included long-term relationships with the World Council of Churches and the World Health Organization, has raised many of the questions addressed in this book. Particular interests include primary healthcare, women’s health and development, community-based rehabilitation and the theology of health and healing.

Dr Gillian Paterson is a UK-based theologian with over thirty years’ experience of research on religion and global health. She has worked for British development agencies and as a consultant to the World Council of Churches and UNAIDS. The author of many books and articles on faith and healing, she was until recently a Research Fellow at Heythrop College, University of London. Now semi-retired, she is learning first-hand to live with the disabilities that many of us encounter in the process of ageing.

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