Out on a limb
The Irede Foundation is an NGO with a passion for helping child amputees to live a fulfilled life without limitations and societal stigmatization. The foundation also educate the families and or caregivers on issues related to limb loss so they can give the right support to these children.
1) Identifying child amputees
2) Empowering child amputees
3) Encouraging parents and caregivers
4) Educating the public/creating awareness and partnership with corporate organizations and individuals
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
- The foundation has a campaign called ‘’Refer a Child’’ that is used to identify child amputees and raise awareness to get support for the children.
With this campaign they have been able to identify several child amputees who eventually are self-reliant and limitless in their various environments.
- By providing limbs for these children, they can go back to school with their peers and do sports amongst many other activities.
- They have a Support Groups System that parents can always turn to in their times of need. They provide advice and training on how to deal with various issues that are associated with disability, such as stigmatization, psychological effects and trauma.
- The foundation annual advocacy walk, "Out on a Limb" is targeted at bringing the attention of society to the challenges faced by children living with limb loss. They also use the media as a platform.
- They partner with various organizations and individuals such as Feet of Grace Foundation and Stanbic IBTC.
In 2013, the Foundation saw the need to bring to the attention of our communities the challenges faced by the child amputee and the need to appropriately cater for them. So the Foundation came up with an Amputee Awareness Walk initiative tagged ‘'Out-On-A-Limb’' to advocate support for the child amputees and their families. I had the opportunity to be part of this noble Walk for the first time in 2014. It was a wonderful experience. I felt privileged to be part of it. Three successive editions of the charity walk has been held with records of successful mass publicity and support.
Through the Irede Foundation, twenty (20) children have been empowered, twenty eight (28) limbs (inclusive of new limbs and replacements) have been done and eighty (80) families have been reached. No doubt the provision of these limbs would make a positive impact the lives of these children. The foundation also support the education of some these children after being fitted through their partner organizations.
The biggest challenge the foundation faces has to do with availability of technicians in Nigeria. There are currently technicians in only 3 states in Nigeria out of 36 states; this means that for every child that needs to be fitted that is resident outside the 3 states where their technicians are based, has to travel out of their location to get fitted. And this increases cost and take a toll on the foundation resources.
A major lesson the foundation has learnt is that disability is a thing of the mind. Before some of our beneficiaries came in contact with the foundation they and their parents and caregivers had low self-esteems, did not believe anything good would happen for them just because they were victims of limb loss. A majority of their issues also compounded because of financial constraints.
After getting their prosthesis and getting trained to use them and after their caregivers and parents joined the support group, it was surprising how these children transformed, how their esteems were boosted, they literally did not see themselves as disabled anymore. They were happy!