Supporting child amputees in partnership with elizabeth's legacy of hope
It is a sad reality that limited medical expertise and the often dangerous living conditions for those living beneath the poverty threshold cause many children to unnecessarily lose their limbs. It can lead to incredible financial and emotional stress for families already dealing with lives characterised by a distressing level of need.
In response to these issues, Street Child works in partnership with the brilliant UK charity Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope (ELoH), supporting more than 180 child amputees in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The amputees receive medical, psychological and educational support which enables them to walk, go to school and live active lives. It also empowers the children and gives them the opportunity to build a good future for themselves, free from poverty.
As part of the project, all children receive medical assessments and are provided with the necessary support, including surgery, fitting of prosthetics and physiotherapy. They receive medical care throughout their childhood and need new prosthetics as they grow. The growing of the remaining bones in their stumps also needs to be closely monitored as it can lead to complications that need to be addressed.
In addition to long-term medical support, the children receive psychological care. This is important as amputees often face stigma and prejudice because of their disability, which often results in the development of low self-worth and a sense of exclusion from society. To address these psychological effects, our trained social workers work closely with the children and their families, regularly providing them with individual, family and group counselling.
Another crucial element in the Street Child - ELoH partnership is to ensure all child amputees are enrolled in school. The children in the project come from very poor families who are unable to afford to sustain school fees. We therefore cover their tuition fees and provide material support in their first year, and our social workers offer emotional support to ensure the children go back to school. Furthermore, all families are provided business support in the form of grants, trainings and individualised advice. This enables them to build sustainable businesses which can support the long-term education and well-being of their children.
The child amputee project has been running since 2012 and its long-term, holistic support has proved very successful, changing the lives of many vulnerable children. If you want to learn more about the project and the situation of child amputees go to Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope’s website. Here you can also find information about the individual projects in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and read the stories of some of the children we support.