In 2016, MiracleFeet was the proud recipient of a five-year, $5 million grant from the Oak Foundation. Rachel Quick, Head of Special Interest Programme at the Oak Foundation, visited MiracleFeet’s Zimbabwe program in July 2018 and had the opportunity to meet Sympathy, one of the many patients now able to access clubfoot treatment because of MiracleFeet’s work.
Sympathy is from a farming family near Harare, Zimbabwe and was born with unilateral clubfoot. The family faced intense scrutiny from their community and neighbors told the child’s parents that the condition was caused by witchcraft. Despite the stigma they faced and the financial burden of traveling to Harare each week for clinic appointments, Sympathy’s parents were determined that their daughter would be able to run around and play with her siblings one day. They faithfully attended casting appointments.
Now four years old, Sympathy’s feet are perfectly straight and she continues to wear her brace each night while she sleeps. She’s now able to run around and play with the other children in her neighborhood; the picture shows Sympathy taking a walk with the Barbie dolls she received from Rachel’s six-year-old daughter.
Oak Foundation’s generous grant will have a great impact on MiracleFeet’s programs, allowing 60,000 children to receive quality treatment for clubfoot. Seeing the impact treatment has on even one child like Sympathy is an important reminder of the life-transforming work happening in clinics around the world. It begins with tenacious parents, compassionate healthcare providers, and a set of plaster casts; it ends with a world free of clubfoot disability.