When Justine was only 3 months old, she became very sick with an infection. Her parents brought her to a government clinic near their village in Uganda. But the morning after she came home, Justine’s feet were stone cold and blue. The doctors didn’t say much about what had happened, but sadly, both of Justine’s feet had to be amputated.
Wishing for Legs
Justine was constantly reminded of all the things she couldn’t do because she had no legs. She couldn’t help out with chores like her other siblings. She couldn’t join the other kids as they ran outside. She couldn’t climb trees or dance. And she couldn’t escape the eyes of people staring at her as she walked on her knees. “It is not easy for me to bear those looks,” Justine quietly said when we met her. The exclusion and isolation made this young girl wish she could be invisible when what she wanted most was to belong.
“Life would be good if I had the legs,” Justine said. The 10-year-old continued, “I would be able to walk and go everywhere I wanted to go; and go to school and do other things because I could walk longer distances. Yes, I would be very, very happy.”
The Challenges and Heartache of School
Justine’s school is only 300 metres away… but that’s still too far for Justine to get there on her own. Her father has to carry her to class on his bicycle. Justine is one of the brightest students in her class, but she can only reach the lower part of the blackboard, and it’s hard for her to move on and off her school bench. So the teacher rarely calls on her to answer questions at the front of the class.
Many of the students laugh at Justine and call her a “cripple.” Some even push her around. “Sometimes I would like to get up and run away,” Justine sadly said. “But I cannot do so.”
A Miraculous Gift
Then one day, things changed. A Hope and Healing International community worker found Justine and arranged for her to come to our partner hospital. Her father couldn’t afford prosthetic legs for Justine, but because of a healinghugs donor like you, the cost for the prostheses was covered!
It was a miracle for Justine! When she stood on her new prostheses, her smile lit up the room. “I can walk now – just like all the other children.”
Now, Justine walks to school on her own and no longer stands by herself. Now she can play and dance with all the other kids. Justine’s sad eyes are now bright and hopeful as she races across the field with her friends… all thanks to incredible donors like you.