Since last year the Limb Kind Foundation, a NYC based non-profit working to provide prosthesis to children in need, has conducted a prosthetic program in three different countries: Haiti, Philippines, and Ethiopia. These missions provide relief, free prosthesis and guidance for children who suffer limb loss, and to provide support and prosthetic care information for families and communities.
Above all else, building each patient with confidence is Limb Kind's number one goal. Twelve-year-old Mahlet is a below the knee, right leg amputee from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Limb Kind was able to help by providing her with a new prosthesis, because her current prosthesis did not fit her properly and gave her discomfort.
Another obstacle Mahlet faces is being bullied at school and in her neighborhood. In many countries, like Ethiopia, a child with a disability is often stigmatized by their communities. This stigma disadvantages children in education, employment, marriage, and is further exacerbated by barriers to healthcare. People view the cause to be supernatural forces, evil spirits, ancestral spirits, exposure to an eclipse, or black magic.
Limb Kind Amputee Mentor, Nicole Grehn, and Mahlet share smiles in conversation at the Cure Children's Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 2020.
"Meeting Nicole has been a breath of fresh air. I have never met anyone like her. She is kind, smart, and positive. Nicole has such an inspiring life and story. I wish one day to follow in her footsteps."
Twenty-nine year old Nicole Grehn, RN of Wisconsin, USA and twelve year old, Mahlet of Ethiopia are both amputees who experienced profound traumas which would shape each of their lives. In 2015, Nicole lost both of her legs in an emergency amputation after she went into cardiac arrest due to catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, an inherited gene mutation that went undetected her whole life. Mahlet lost her right leg below the knee as a result of an infection. Mahlet hopes to someday become a medical professional. Nicole has been an amputee for five years and has mastered use of her prosthesis, while continuing her studies, becoming a nurse practitioner.
Mahlet says, after working with the Limb Kind team she now has the knowledge and courage that is required to stand up for herself and others like her.
“I am more than a person with a disability. I have multiple abilities and I’d like to show people having a limb difference does not make you incapable. There are far too many people who need to be better educated about the limb loss community in Ethiopia. I want to set an example of what we can do.”
It was beautiful watching Mahlet's transformation during her week spent with the Limb Kind Foundation. I look forward to seeing her progress again next year.
To view more Limb Kind stories visit: www.capturehumanity.com