By Fred Ouma, Development Communications Coordinator, World Vision Uganda
Kizito, 5, was born healthy. At six months, his body started to show unpleasant signs. The fifth born out of seven was not like any other child in the family. His body was increasingly giving way – becoming softer and weaker – with each passing day.
His parents took him to a health facility in Kalisizo where medical workers told them they suspected his spine to have problems, but that it would be fine. But, even with this assurance, Kizito’s parents still had doubts in their minds. “If our boy was fine, why was he not doing things babies of his age would normally do, like sitting and feeding by himself?” asked Kizito’s mother, Florence.
Convinced that there was something terribly wrong with their son’s health, they couldn’t fold their hands and leave everything to fate. No way. They had to give their all in an attempt to find a solution for their son’s anonymous anomaly.
Determined not to leave anything to chance, they sought the help of various herbalists and traditional healers, but to no avail. Like medical professionals, traditional healers and herbalists could not reverse or offer any credible solutions to Kizito’s situation. Meanwhile the situation continued to deteriorate from bad to worse.
With a lot of resources used up in a search for answers, the dire economic situation forced Kizito’s parents, peasant farmers from a village in Kyotera district, to give up.
Next year Kizito turns six but he can’t speak, stand up or walk. His condition is still a mystery. After failing to get a solution from men, they were left with one option: pray for a divine intervention. “We have done everything humanly possible and we don’t see anything else or new we can do for him,” said Florence as she sobbed in tears. “Our options are exhausted and we have dedicated his life in the hands of God as our last refuge.”
And God was immediate in His response. Early this year, Kizito received a wheelchair, courtesy of World Vision with support from Wheelchairs for Kids. Kizito’s mother confesses that it was becoming difficult for her to carry her son. She felt the necessity of a wheelchair for him, but it was difficult for them to manage the cost of the wheelchair.
Since 2015, a total of 1,096 children like Kizito have received the support of a wheelchair from World Vision. The wheelchairs provide hope and a fresh start for them. They are fit for purpose and designed to suit the tough African terrain, including urban and rural communities. All the way from Australia, World Vision ships bright and colourful wheelchairs to children who need them most. A third vital member of this partnership, Motivation Charitable Trust, trains local health centre staff to fit wheelchairs and ensure children are safe and happy.
Surrounded by a host of friends and siblings ready to push him in his newfound wheels, Kizito does not have a problem moving around or playing if the places are accessible for him. “He feels comfortable except suffering pressure sores or ulcers because of continuous sitting on the wheelchair in one specific position,” said Florence.
Kizito may not yet have got his health restored but his mother is grateful that her son has never been segregated by friends or even in the community. Many people, both fellow children and adults, love him. Many times you find them carrying him, and playing and laughing with him. What I have noticed, however, he does not have any favourites. Kizito loves all people the same way. He will smile at anyone and laugh with everybody.