Irede Foundation: Giving Hope To Children Without Limbs | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Irede Foundation: Giving Hope To Children Without Limbs

Posted: May 14, 2015 at 12:50 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase



As a way of contributing to the well being of children without limb and giving them bright future, Irede Foundation, a non government organisation is set to bring succor to some children in this category.

The foundation is aiming at restoring hope in these children and assuring them that they can become whatever they desire without limitations.

It is on this note that the foundation recently organised an awareness walk designed to advocate support for child amputees and their families, tagged ‘out on a limb’.

The walk begins at the YMCA Building on Awolowo road Ikoyi to Falomo roundabout and back to the YMCA building.

Speaking at the end of the walk, founder of the Foundation, Crystal Chigbu stated that the foundation wishes to ensure that every child amputee is given a chance to become a champion, live above the limitations of missing limbs whether congenital or acquired.

Chigbu, explained that amputee children go through lots of challenges, stressing that the foundation was set up to help families who are burdened with cases of limb losses, adding that the objective of the initiative was to raise awareness about the child amputee and garner support for the children and their families.

Speaking further she said the foundation hopes to provide 24 prosthetic limbs for indigent children this year and that with the support of everyone present at the walk and other supporters the foundation will be able to meet its target.

“We are focused on providing 24 prosthetic limbs for indigent children this year at the cost of N1 million each, totaling N24 million. This is to ensure that amputees are empowered and can live life to the fullest. Our mission is to help them and their families live a life of fulfillment and help the children rise to the challenge with an attitude and behaviour that say, ‘I can’. On the criteria for selecting those that would benefit from the prosthetic limbs, Chigbu explained that it would be made available to only indigent children whom their parents could not afford to buy or replace the prosthetic limbs.

She added that children within the ages of one and 10 years are the foundation’s target beneficiaries as they are in the most vulnerable position to personally live above the limitations of amputation. “Our focus is empowering children with prosthetic limbs, encouraging the children to live a normal life, educating care-givers and the society.

“Our support for them is continuous till they attain the age of 18. This support includes continual replacement of their prosthesis as they grow and having support group meetings to ensure they are living life to the fullest. We are ecstatic to have restored hope to 10 beneficiaries in three years, providing 16 prosthetic limbs and we are determined to provide 24 limbs inclusive of replacements in this year 2015,” she added.

Speaking further, Chigbu said the ‘Out-on-a-Limb’ initiative was designed to address the first leg of the mission of the Foundation which is to educate the public about limb loss, particularly as it pertains to children.

“The walk is also intended to raise funds from cash gifts for T-Shirts and donations to provide 24 prosthetic limbs for indigent child amputees and support the vital programmes and services that enhance the quality of the lives of these children as well as inspire hope against the odds of their challenges.”

However, inspired by the congenital limb loss of her daughter, Beulah Irede, who was born with missing a tibia and patella in her right leg, Chigbu, explained that she and her husband were told that the only option for Beulah for a functionally mobile life was amputation and prosthesis. “It took over two years for us to accept the reality, have the surgery and get Beulah prosthesis,” she said.

She also said with the support of her husband, she set out to help other families who are burdened with similar cases.

“We would love to have you take on at least one child amputee for a minimum of two years. This will position you as a direct sponsor of the child and the child a direct beneficiary of your goodwill.”

She said the partnership requires that the child being adopted enjoys limb (prosthesis) replacement from time to time as the need arises, and that in a year a child will need to change the prosthesis twice which will cost N1 million each time a child is given a new prosthesis.

“This partnership requires that the child being adopted enjoys limb (prosthesis) replacement from time to time as the need arises. In a year a child will need to change the prosthesis twice, it costs N1 million each time a child is given a new prosthesis,” she added.

Chigbu also called for sponsors for some of the foundation’s programmes which seek to empower, educate, advocate or raise awareness in addressing the challenges being faced by children and families dealing with congenital and acquired limb loss.

Speaking further on her daughter who is now six years old, Chigbu said she (daughter) can do everything other children do in the school and even at home and that she has taught her not to feel that she is disabled.

“My daughter can do everything her age mate in school does; she can dance, and walk freely, she is even into karat and taekwondo in school,” she said. Also speaking, the foundation’s Board of Trustees’ Chairman, Mr. Kunle Akinkugbe, appreciated those present at the walk despite the challenge of fuel scarcity, stressing that the foundation is special because it operates in an area that is not ordinarily in people’s consciousness.

“I want to specially appreciate everyone here for the love you have for these children; in spite of the fuel scarcity and the scorching sun we still have this large number, it shows that this foundation is special. It is special in the sense that this is happening in an area which is ordinarily not in people’s consciousness.

“The 24 prosthetic limbs cannot be possible without people’s support, what we are doing here today is awareness for people to support this group. I personally believe there is a lot of money in this country and until we let people know what this foundation is doing, that is when we would be able to achieve our goal and exceed our expectation for this year,” he said. He, thereby, called on those present and others who would in one way or the other get the message to support the foundation so as to put smiles on the faces of children in this category and their families.

Akinkugbe added that the foundation is using the medium to reach out to people who have a need for prosthetic limbs or families going through amputation or changing a limb, that the child needs it. “We also want to reach out to people who have a need for prosthetic limbs or families going through the challenges of facing amputation or changing a limb; the child need it, so there is no cause for alarm, it is important we finish what we have started so we are calling on you to help us exceed this expectation of providing 24 prosthetic limbs this year,” he said.

Some of the beneficiaries also shared their experiences while appreciating the foundation for coming to their aids and calling on well meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations to support the good work the foundation is doing.