The Irede Foundation, which provides prosthetic limbs and other assistance to poor child amputees aged 0 to 18, also hosts Out on a Limb, a walk to raise awareness about limb loss in children. Executive Director Crystal Chigbu talks to Joy Ehonwa about Irede Foundation’s mission to give hope to child amputees.
CN: Why did The Irede Foundation decide to focus on children?
According to Walter Disney our greatest natural resources are in the minds of our children, so we at The Irede Foundation know that when we focus on children we are focusing on the future. We understand that children can help educate their friends in school, that way we can educate a whole nation – and we can reduce societal stigmatization. In addition, when a child starts using a prosthesis from childhood you are helping in shaping the beliefs of the child and his or her ability to believe they can do anything. More importantly, they can live their lives to the fullest not minding the limb loss they must have gone through. A very good example is my daughter: she can practically do anything she imagines to do.
CN: What kind of support does the Foundation offer child amputees?
We offer three (3) major kinds of support to child amputees; education, encouragement and empowerment.
With education, we make them aware and teach them about the challenge they are going through and how to live above it. More importantly, we educate the society about the intricacies of limb loss.
Encouragement – reassuring children and inspiring affected families to forge ahead despite the challenges of limb loss via the establishment of support groups and focus groups.
Empowerment for us is helping child amputees live their lives to the fullest; via mentoring/coaching sessions and the provision of prosthetic limbs to indigent children between the ages of 1 – 18 years.
CN: How do you find these children?
We have a Refer Child program where people can refer a child amputee they know or come across. Over the years 70% of the children referred have been from general hospitals. We go all out by announcing on social media and other platforms to reach out to amputees. We also work with doctors and nurses in hospitals to get the children referred.
CN: How many prostheses have you been able to provide so far and how does that compare with the number of children referred?
So far, we have provided 48 prostheses between 2012 – 2016. Annually we are able to provide prostheses to a minimum of 50% of the children referred. Hopefully, in 2017, we should provide prosthesis to a minimum of 60% of the children referred. We are also responsible for the continuous change of the prostheses as the children grow.
CN: How can individuals and organisations support Irede Foundation?
There are two major kinds of support we can get from individuals and organisations; financial and volunteering. Financially you can contribute to raising funds for a child’s prosthesis. There is no amount that is too small. We also have categories for people that would like to give monthly, and you can also ‘adopt a child.’ Details can be seen on our website. Individuals and organizations can also volunteer in different capacities or give benefits in kind e.g. photography, website design and management are also forms of support given by organisations.
CN: Out on a Limb (OOAL) 2017 holds on April 8th. What would you want the public to know about this event?
We are excited about Out on a Limb 2017. The Walk will be happening in 30 locations simultaneously so everyone can participate. The T-shirts are already available for sale @N4000 per t-shirt; the proceeds from each shirt goes into purchasing limbs for child amputees. Participants can preregister by clicking HERE and information can be seen also on our social media pages.
Address: Suite 1, No 1 Omotayo Ojo Street, Off Majekodunmi Street, By Oshopey Plaza, Allen Avenue, Lagos.
Phone: 07087109596; 01-3422457