Alpha Kargbo was first visited in October 2016 by two orthopedic surgeons from the German-based organization Ortopaedie-für-die-Dritte Welt (O-D-W). They hoped to be able to save his badly infected right leg. Alpha, age 8 at the time, had suffered for two years with a bone infection of unknown origin, and that had destroyed his knee joint and continued to spread. Despite three or more surgeries and different regimens of antibiotic medications, Alpha finally lost his battle against the infection, which was threatening his life.
Africa surgery asked the O-D-W team to amputate Alpha’s leg above the knee, in January 2020. Alpha, a quiet but gutsy 12-year-old by then, wanted to go to school and to play with his friends on two legs again. Africa Surgery made arrangements for their partner organization, Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Medical Services-Sierra Leone (ORMS-SL), to fabricate and fit Alpha with a prosthetic right leg and foot, including a knee joint that will actually work for him.
Moribah Tommy, a crippled, hard-working blacksmith, was one of the many disabled persons who were on the waiting list for a mobility cart. In 2018 and early 2019, Africa Surgery had distributed 60 mobility carts donated by Mobility World Wide (mobilityworldwide.org) to victims of polio and other disabled persons.
In October 2019 Africa Surgery sent another container to Sierra Leone. It included 80 more mobility carts, and Moribah finally received the cart that allows him to move around his village (Matru-Jong) with ease and dignity.
I have been back for more than three months now after spending over one year directing our programs in Sierra Leone. Schools were opening when I left and, thanks to the help of many of you, our donors, over 100 children are now attending school with help from Africa Surgery. When I return after my next visit, I will have photos and gratitude letters from all of our sponsored students.
Our in-country teams continue to provide free medical and surgical treatments, orthotic supplies and braces to needy Sierra Leoneans. At this end, I am repairing sewing machines and will soon be collecting wheelchairs, crutches, clothing, shoes, and other items to fill a 40-foot container that we plan to ship, possibly in May. We have already collected half of the $7,000 needed to ship the container. You can easily donate toward the cost of this shipment by visiting the Assumption website, assumptionparish.org, and scrolling down to “Africa Surgery – Shipping Container Campaign.” In March I will post a list of needed items and directions for donating.
After two years of study, Aminata Koroma, age 27, received her Certificate of Merit in Tailoring and Dressmaking from our own Skill Training in Tailoring Program. Last October Aminata accepted a one-month job from a local NGO, the Welfare Society for the Disabled (WESOFOD), as a paid trainer for ten disabled youths learning to produce hand bags and belt bags. The youngsters live at the WESOFOD Home for the Disabled. Most of them are from the last generation affected by polio before it was eradicated in Sierra Leone
We hope that these skills will allow these trainees to earn some money by making attractive bags, a popular product in Sierra Leone. Africa Surgery also provided WESOFOD with a hand-powered sewing machine and 12 wheelchairs, part of the donation of 70 wheelchairs from our sister organization Africa Surgery Netherlands.
There are no large retail chains in Sierra Leone. Everyone must choose between buying used clothing donated by foreign charities and sold in the local markets, or having their clothes made by a tailor. Persons with disabilities can make a living as tailors, as long as they can see and use their hands. Our Skill Training in Tailoring Program is one of three subjects, along with Computer Technology and Welding, that we offer for free to disabled or impoverished youths, as well as to others who can afford to pay tuition. All of this happens in a room built next to a used container, at the Africa Surgery base in Freetown.
We currently have over 30 youths being trained in Tailoring, including one with a spinal injury, one hearing impaired, and two victims of albinism. We will soon add one or more epilepsy patients.
We are a unique organization in that we use 100% of of the funds donated here for the medical and surgical care of Sierra Leonean children and adult patients. No part of these funds go for administrative costs.
In Sierra Leone, simple surgeries cost slightly over $100. No donation is too small. Every dollar counts.
Africa Surgery, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit. Your donations are tax-deductible in the United States.