Every few months we receive updates on the projects we support from our partners in the field. The following is an uplifting success story we recently received from a project in Zambia:
Agness Nayame, the youngest of six, was born with a congenital deformity on her left leg. The 12-year-old’s father passed away when she was just a small child, leaving her mother alone to care for the family.
Agness and her family endured much ridicule from their village community because of her deformity, which kept her from walking normally. As in most African countries, the people in the Mpulungu district of northern Zambia subscribe to the traditional but false belief that children born with deformities are cursed and their illness is caused by some fault of the family. When Agness was born, gossip of her deformity began to circulate. People from the community came by their home, not to offer congratulations to the family, but to personally confirm the “bad” that had befallen the community because of the Nayame family.
Despite the gossip, the family stayed strong with encouragement from each other and some church members. But the pressure mounted as Agness grew. Her mother knew she could no longer keep her safe at home, away from the mean-spirited teasing of others in the community over her condition. Agness did, indeed, experience a lot of teasing and embarrassment as she tried to make friends and attend school. Her self-esteem was crushed.
But just when it seemed nothing could lift her from the depths of despair, Agness received some help that changed her life. A local school for disabled children saw her need and referred her to the Kabulonga Cheshire Home, a holistic rehabilitation program for poor children with disabilities supported by Cross International Catholic Outreach. Through the program Agness received food, specialized education, and physical therapy.
After Agness lost her leg during a complicated operation, the Cheshire Home, with the help of Cross Catholic, helped her get a prosthetic limb. The rehabilitative care she’s received over the last year and a half has also greatly improved her mobility and performance in school. The staff has taken great pleasure in seeing this young girl able to walk independently and continue her education without problems.
Agness is very grateful for all the help, and she’s got her smile back. With her new artificial limb, she has the confidence to socialize with other children without the fear of being laughed at. Her self-esteem is growing and she is developing into a happy young lady. Thanks to aid provided by Cross Catholic and its generous benefactors, Agness can now face the world with confidence. She is no longer a victim of discrimination or disgrace!