She was born with a badly deformed lower right leg. At 7 months, in 2010, she had her first surgery when the Mercy Ship was anchored in the Freetown Harbor. Africa Surgery arranged a second surgery by an O-D-W clubfoot specialist in November 2018, and a third and final surgery in October 2019.
By January, 2020, Jariatu’s lower right leg and foot were healed and perfectly straightened and we had her fitted with a custom-made extra-high shoe lift, to equalize the lengths of her legs. After missing a lot of classroom time, Jariatu, now age 10, is attending school again, with help from an Africa Surgery sponsorship.
Thanks to hard lessons learned five years ago during the Ebola hemorrhagic fever epidemic in West Africa, Sierra Leone was already well experienced in the practice of quarantining, contact tracing, and lock downs. But the measures taken to stem this more recent Covid-19 crisis have had a devastating effect on the life of the average Sierra Leonean who cannot store up food supplies for more than one or two days. Most Sierra Leoneans do not have regular jobs as we understand them, but must work on a farm or sell in a market, and in the cases of a disabled parent, must beg today in order to feed his or her family tonight.
Mosques and churches have already been opened and schools will likely resume classes in September. Africa Surgery will be hard pressed to send the students it has already been supporting through its student sponsorship program to school. In many, if not most, cases we will now have to include some extra feeding assistance because as one student once told me, “an empty bag cannot stand.”
We are well aware that Covid-19 has been and is still dealing havoc on the economy of the United States and of much of the rest of the world. But if those of you who have so generously been supporting one or more students can afford to continue to help, please do so with your gift of $200 per student per year. And if you can afford to add an additional gift of $20, $50 or even $100 dollars per student, your gift will go very far in helping your student or students to concentrate and to learn.
Kaday Conteh lost her mother when she was three. Her father, a poor farmer, had never been able to send Kaday or her two older sisters and older brother to school. Kaday’s neck was mysteriously fractured when she was left in the care of neighbors for two weeks around the time of her mother’s illness. Kaday then remained in the care of her grandmother, who is blind, while her father and siblings did farm work
By age five when Kaday was first seen by Africa Surgery, she could not hold her head up straight, she was partially paralyzed on the right side of her body so had difficulty standing or walking, and seemed to be is some pain. Africa Surgery fit Kaday with a neck brace in the hope that it might help straighten her neck as she continued to grow. After eight months Kaday had grown a bit and her neck was much straighter, her pain seemed over, and she had regained the complete use of the right side of her body.
In September, 2018, Africa surgery had Kaday enrolled in the local primary school in her village, and found a donor who committed to sponsoring Kaday’s schooling for $200 per year through Africa Surgery’s Student Sponsorship Program. Kaday is making progress in her school work with help from a Sierra Leonean ASI team member who tutors Kaday after school. It is hoped that Kaday will become the first person in her family to be able to read and to write.
Joel E. Mansaray was born about six-years ago to a strong and hard-working woman who is continuously filling and hauling five-gallon containers of water for her neighbors at no cost. While she works, Joel is taken care of by his maternal uncle who is also working to support several members of his extended family.
Joel posed for this photo wearing his primary school uniform during the 2018-19 school year. We hope to be able to find a sponsor for Joel to help us send him to school again this September.
Through the ASI Student Sponsorship Program, Africa Surgery is helping to educate 132 students. However, many of these students remain without their own sponsor and might have to be dropped from this program as result. It costs $200 per year to provide a student in need with school uniforms, shoes, school bag, books, and other supplies and costs.
Each time I return from my visits to Sierra Leone I bring thank-you letters, written by each student to their sponsor, and photos of each student, which are then sent to each sponsor personally by me.
I rode my bicycle through Makeni town to visit a family which has three children that Africa Surgery is helping with schooling, thanks to three different sponsors. The family lacks the support of a man, and the mother tries to raise her girls through her efforts as a baker and market seller. Her youngest daughter, Beatrice, age six, is deaf. Arriving at the house I was offered a chair. Once seated, I was informed that the mother, Maferie, was at the Holy Spirit Hospital, where I had just been working all day, and that she was there caring for one of her daughters, Aminata, who had undergone an emergency appendectomy about one week before.
Every year I provide the hospital with a list of Africa Surgery-sponsored students, who are to be treated at our expense, should they arrive at the hospital in need of help. I was very pleased to see that the plan is working well, as it did in this case.
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.