Overcoming Stigma in Cambodia: David’s Story

David’s parents were shocked when he was born with bilateral clubfoot in Battambang, Cambodia. They didn’t know what they could do to help their son. Worse still, neighbors told them that David’s condition was caused by wrongdoing in the parents’ past. The family felt depressed and ashamed, David as an infant before clubfoot treatmentthinking they were somehow at fault for David’s clubfoot.

Fortunately, a concerned aunt came to visit and knew about free treatment available at a MiracleFeet-sponsored clinic in Battambang Hospital, just 2 km from the family’s home. When David was one week old he was enrolled in treatment and began the casting phase.

David at age 4, riding bicycle with training wheels around on the dirt road near his homeAfter the first week, David’s mother was still skeptical that the treatment would correct her son’s feet. The doctor reassured her that the condition was treatable, but that they must stick to the treatment plan and come to all appointments. The family soon began to notice the change in David’s feet and began to feel hope that their little boy would one day run and play with his friends.

After casting and a tenotomy, David began the bracing phase of treatment. Even though the braces attracted a few curious stares when the family was out in public, they were not deterred. “I was not embarrassed about my child wearing these shoes in public,” said David’s mom. “People might laugh at me, but I didn’t care because I knew my child would walk like other children.”

At four and a half years old, David has completed the bracing phase and happily plays with his friends. He especially loves riding his bike, and his parents are so grateful and happy that David’s treatment was successful.

Learn more about MiracleFeet’s work in Cambodia with our partner NextSteps.