From the moment Beni* was born it was clear that something wasn’t quite right.
Had he been born here in Australia, they may have picked it up early in a pregnancy scan, and they would’ve likely treated him within the first few months of his life.
Beni is now four years old and lives with his father, Joseph, in one of the outer districts of Goma city in the DR Congo. And he’s lived his whole life so far with a congenital malformation in both legs.
Essentially, something happened while he was in the womb that meant his legs didn’t form normally. As a result, they visibly curve outwards rather than being straight. As a baby it affected his ability to crawl and get around, and these days it makes walking challenging and sometimes even painful.
From early on his father Joseph knew that Beni needed medical treatment. But he also knew that he couldn’t afford it.
Joseph is a motorcycle taxi driver, but he’s endured long periods of unemployment over the years and at times he could barely afford to feed his son, let alone get him the medical care he needed.
Recently, however, after coming to terms with the challenges that Beni would face for the rest of his life, Joseph committed to getting him in front of someone that could help.
Joseph and his extended family did everything they could and saved up the $70 required to see an orthopaedic specialist and get some tests.
“The specialist said that Beni needed to have surgery in hospital, but I knew we couldn’t afford the medical bills. I thought I was going to have to go to prison to help my son.”
By the grace of God, Beni was taken to the HEAL Africa hospital for surgery.
Thanks to the generosity of WorldShare supporters HEAL Africa has a Mercy Fund, which they use to cover the medical bills of vulnerable patients who desperately need medical treatment but can’t afford it.
Beni was an obvious candidate for help from the fund and HEAL offered to cover the cost of his surgery and any additional medical care.
Beni recently had the surgery, and it was a great success. He now faces six weeks in plaster casts, but after that he’ll be able to run around like any other four-year-old.
“I am so grateful to HEAL Africa”, says Joseph, “I am so glad that I didn’t have to go to prison to see my son walk properly for the first time.”
*Names have been changed to protect those we serve.