Many children with disabilities in low to middle-income countries like Niger are forced to beg on the streets to support themselves. With low mobility and a paralyzing stigma against persons with disabilities, it’s virtually impossible to support oneself any other way. Each day children with disabilities dream of relief from their conditions. They dream of participating in society and breaking the shackles of stigmatization that are often married to their disability; they dream and wait until they can no longer.
This was the case for 13-year-old Djouneydou from Niger (pictured above). As he grew up, his legs began to bow outwards, severely inhibiting his ability to walk. When his parents took him to a local hospital, doctors attempted to treat his condition with surgery on his right leg. Unfortunately, they weren’t equipped to help with Djouneydou’s condition and the surgery didn’t help. He was devastated but determined to help support his family, so he went to beg on the streets.
“I was begging [on the streets] when someone very nice asked me if I wanted my legs fixed. I said ‘yes,’ and asked if he could drive me to my parents. That is how we came to CURE Children’s Hospital of Niger!” shared Djouneydou with tears.
A Healing Journey Begins at CURE
Djouneydou was not left to shame and disgrace anymore because CURE Niger is not just a hospital, but it’s a place of hope and healing. It is where he befriended other kids with similar conditions and saw them getting better, and now it was his turn to witness his own miracle. Doctors at CURE performed surgery to correct his right leg within just a couple of days. The operation only took a few hours, but Djouneydou’s journey to healing would continue over the next 12 months.
“I can already feel that my foot is erect. I can already imagine myself without a cast! I am thankful for all who support me in this fight!” Djouneydou said.
With support from generous donors, CURE Niger can continue to help children in need who don’t have any other option for medical care.
After a couple of months and many casting changes, we were able to take his cast off to reveal a straight, treated leg. Along with that, healing renewed Djouneydou’s spirit!
CURE serves children like Djouneydou from more than ten countries who make their way to CURE Niger for the medical attention they need. And though we offer treatment and surgery at no cost to the children and their families, CURE hospitals are too far for some. That’s why our Mobile Clinic Outreach Events are so helpful. Going out into underserved regions (in the countries where we have a permanent presence) allows us to reach more children with treatable disabilities who have waited for hope and healing for a long time.
“It’s a blessing and a grace to have legs and be able to walk. God is good!” Djouneydou exclaimed. Now he has goals of becoming a teacher one day, and thanks to generous supporters of CURE, a brighter future awaits him.
From beggar to future teacher, Djouneydou’s life has dramatically changed.
Click here to end the wait for more children needing surgical care in Niger.
Click here to see photos and read updates about Djoyneydou’s healing journey.
CURE Niger’s mission is to provide every child living with a disability the physical, emotional, and spiritual care they need to heal. If you have questions about becoming a patient or a partner with CURE, please contact us.